Skip to content

Late powder made great spring skiing at Marmot Basin

The season started early on November 16 and wrapped up on May 5.
There were big smiles on the big hill during the height of Marmot Basin’s ski season.

It was up-and-down on the slopes for Marmot Basin as the 2023-24 ski season took skiers to new heights.

Marmot's vice-president of marketing Brian Rode recapped the last five-and-a-half months. Things got off to an early but slow start on opening day in mid-November.

“The ski hill managed to open on Nov. 16, which is still really early and granted with not nearly as much snow as we would typically have. That was pretty much the case throughout Canada and the U.S. There may have been a few exceptions, but not many,” he said.

“I would say business was down, depending on the week, 20 to 30 per cent at times in the early season. But then we started to get the snow in mid-January. By mid-February conditions were great.”

He called the first few months “below par,” but last season had the second biggest March in terms of visits in the last eight years. Conditions were ideal and costumes were at their most colourful during Proud Peaks, one of the many events held during Jasper's Pride Festival.

“Once the snow improved, people came out,” Rode said. “March was strong, and then it was good right up until Easter.”

After Easter, people tend to start thinking about spring and summer, losing their enthusiasm for all things winter, including skiing.

“We rebounded nicely in March and the beginning of April, so we finished a year that was certainly below average but we're happy that conditions improved, such as they did,” Rode said.

Part of how well things turned out was Marmot’s new Knob Quad chair. Its base is approximately 100 metres lower than the current base, making it accessible from the Eagle Ridge chair, and its peak is approximately 110 metres higher, going all the way up to an elevation of 2,518 metres.

Taking skiers to a higher unload point gave them better access to some areas off the peak, including the runs opened off of Marmot Cirque in particular.

That area required a lot of snow, so that opened late as well. Once it got going after a dump of 30 centimetres of snow, however, everyone realized that it was worth the wait.

“People were thrilled with it that were up there. It just takes you literally to new heights. The views from up there… it just changes the whole skiing experience,” Rode said. “It was unbelievable up there.”