For many LGBTQ + skiers and snowboarders, skiing in Champagne Powder in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is at the top of the Gay Travel bucket list, not only because of the vast powder snow that runs through the dense Rockies forests but also because of the gay ski week in Jasper. Ideal for a gay winter trip is the Jasper National Park in the north of the Canadian province of Alberta in western Canada, around the city of Jasper. We already had the opportunity to visit the winter sports region 2 years ago as part of the Jasper Pride Festival and have already been able to discover the capital city of Alberta, Edmonton for us last summer. With our blog article ‘Gay Winter Trip Canada’ we would like to inspire you for a trip into the Canadian winter, where you can experience Edmonton and skiing, thanks to the flight connection Germany – Amsterdam – Edmonton. What makes a ski holiday in LGBTQ + friendly Canada so special? You can now find it out on Couple of Men.
Gay Trip Canada: Via Amsterdam into the Rockies
The winter holiday in Canada and the visit to the Jasper Pride Festival was our first trip as a gay travel blogger to Canada. With the Dutch airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, we first traveler from Germany to Amsterdam and then directly to Edmonton, the second-largest city in the Canadian province of Alberta. The 11-hour journey with excellent service, legroom, and spectacular views over the deep winter in the north of Canada from the side window literally flew by for us.
Our favorite airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers flights from €450* to Edmonton. A special tip for German LGBTQ+ travelers: SkyTeam member KLM Royal Dutch Airlines with their modern fleet brings you comfortably and quickly from 10 German Airports via Amsterdam-Schiphol, the KLM hub, to over 160 destinations around the globe. *subject to availability / last check: September 2020
But before we went on our road trip to the Canadian Rockies, we spent the first three nights in Edmonton. If you’ve ever visited Edmonton before, you can also take a look at the city of Calgary, which has a lot to offer as a former hosting city of the Winter Olympics. But why did we spend a couple of days in the city during our Gay Winter Trip to Canada? Well, LGBTQ+ travelers from Europe first have to get used to the time difference of 9 hours, of course.
Edmonton & the drive to Jasper National Park
Although we visited Edmonton in the summer, you can of course also plan some of our tips from our blog article in your winter itinerary. But we did our homework and tracked down a few winter highlights. Because Edmonton is considered the festival capital of Canada, especially in winter. Already in January, Edmonton starts with the Deep Freeze Festival. The 2-day event ends with a spectacular race in a freezer. A few weeks later, the Ice on Whyte Festival attracts many national and international visitors to Edmonton with its unique combination of art and ice.
For us, a city trip to Edmonton has a lot to offer, particularly in a culinary way. We can definitely recommend visiting a local brewery such as the AlleyKat Brewery, try one of the delicious beef burgers from Alberta’s cattle or donuts from the donut shop run by a gay couple Donut Party!. But as much as we feel comfortable in Edmonton and enjoy the hospitality and wintry idyll of the North Saskatchewan River, after 4 days in town our 4×4 Jeep should finally set off for Jasper National Park.
A great tip for gay-friendly accommodation is the luxury lodge of Fairmont. We stayed in a spacious private suite with lake view. Some highlights of our stay include the generous breakfast buffet and the pool and hot tubs overlooking the snowy Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Snowy & gay-friendly days in Jasper, Alberta
Our first days at Jasper National Park were just heavenly and winterish. When we started our road trip, a snow front moved across the Canadian Rocky Mountains into Jasper National Park. We could hardly believe our winter luck, with up to half a meter of fresh snow and temperatures below -25 °C. And another surprise awaited us: The whole city of Jasper was adorned with rainbow flags for the upcoming Jasper Pride Festival, the Canadian Gay Ski Week. In addition to a guided hike through the frozen Maligne Canyon, our Gay Travel List included a Fat Bike exploration tour, where we encountered numerous deer in the wild, here also called Wapitis.
Our hotel was the gay-friendly Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, where we could warm up after a day on the slopes of Marmot Basin in the hot outdoor pool overlooking Lake Beauvert Lake and the Rocky Mountains. What inspired us from the beginning during our Gay Winter Trip to Canada was the unbelievable friendliness and openness of the Canadians, of which we can count some of our best friends since our skiing gaycation in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Equipped with a rainbow flag and dressed in our furry costumes, we went down the Marmot Basin slopes with hundreds of lesbian, gay, trans, and queer skiers and snowboarders to demonstrate for equality and love. After a day on the slopes, we couldn’t wait to attend the party nights with bears, bears and more.
Powder snow in the ski resort Marmot Basin
But back to our road trip from Edmonton to Jasper. After an exciting ride through the dense snow on the well-developed Highway number 16, also called Yellowhead Highway, we were ready to hit the slopes and the fresh snow in the ski resort Marmot Basin. Coming from Jasper town it is just a short drive over the world-famous Icefield Parkway followed by a steep driveway up into the mountains. There are plenty of parking spaces, changing rooms, lockers, a ski rental service and, of course, a restaurant. With the 4-seat Canadian Rockies Express chairlift, we went straight up into Canadian skiing pleasure.
The champagne powder is so soft that even falling down is fun, especially for beginners. But there are also more challenging slopes that are much steeper. Those are made for snowboarder Karl. With the Knob Chair, Karl went up alone to the highest point in the ski area that can be reached by a lift while Daan is having fun with the ski instructor on the beginner slopes. The views to Jasper, 20 km away, are simply spectacular. Karl’s tip: Continue down the slopes on Black Runway 42 named McCready’s Choice. But we also plan a few days away from the ski slopes on our trip to Canada, of course, to drive south on Icefield’s Parkway to Banff and Lake Louise. The wooded valley, the snowy Rocky Mountains, and the breathtaking waterfalls offer truly unique wow winter moments. We are still so excited and definitely want to come back!
You might also be interested in this:
- Here it becomes rainbow colorful: Gay Pride Trips worldwide >
- Good to know: Our Gay Travels as Gay Couple Bloggers >
- Hotel reviews: Our top tested gay-friendly Hotels worldwide >
- Best of the Canadian Gay Ski Week: Whistler Pride Festival 2019 >
- Overview: List of the 13 best Gay Ski Weeks around the world >
- Important Info & Tips: Our Gay Travel Guide for Canada >
Tips for Your Gay Winter Trip – Skiing in Canada
Good to know: This is different when skiing in Canada compared to Europe. First, the snow is different. Due to the often distinctly minus temperatures that often prevail during a bad weather front, the snow is soft and fluffy. The dry cold does not allow the snow to stick to the ski equipment or clothes, as is usually the case in wet snow in Europe. The ski slopes, which are often cleared unprepared due to the amount of snow, partly lead directly through the Canadian coniferous forests. Depending on the ski area, there is either a paper or a plastic card in Canada. In Marmot Basin, the card was back then still made of paper, which is scanned manually at the lift. While many winter sports enthusiasts in Europe like to go straight to the next après-ski bar after a day on the slopes, skiers and snowboarders in Marmot Basin (or Canada in general) often like to go straight home or to a pub in Jasper Town. The ski pass prices are much more expensive compared to Austria, Switzerland, Italy, or France.
Karl & Daan.