Marmot Basin, located in Alberta's Jasper National Park, provides a skiing and snowboarding experience which is arguably second to none in North America. It is basin and glade skiing at its finest, with runs catering to everyone from the greenest novice to the kamikaze 'I'll ski a double-black blindfolded' skier, in a breathtakingly beautiful Rocky Mountain setting. The snow is 100% natural, and the wide variety of runs and terrains ensure there is something for the powderhound, the mogul master, and the cruiser at about any level of skill.

Marmot Basin has grown, in the approximately 40 years it has operated, to include 84 named runs and a lift capacity of close to 12000 skiers per hour on nine lifts. With 3000 vertical feet of skiing, you almost need to pack a lunch if you're planning to ski from the top of the Knob to the Lower Chalet. With 30 percent novice runs, 30 percent intermediate runs, and 40 percent expert runs, Marmot offers a balance of terrain few other resorts can provide, and more importantly, offers some excellent transition runs. Highway 16, for instance, one of Marmot's oldest runs, is an expert run, but it offers a good introduction to the intermediate skier, and there is no shortage of easy, enjoyable, and scenic beginner runs.

Marmot Basin is located just 20 minutes from the town of Jasper, which offers services and accommodations to suit the needs of any skier. Jasper has the look and feel of a mountain resort town, but has not yet succumbed to the crass commercialism and overcrowding that has spoiled Banff as a destination for local visitors. And, like Banff, Jasper National Park offers unspoiled and magnificent mountain vistas, hiking and trailriding tours, whitewater rafting, and other year-round attractions.

Having said all this, I have one request. Please don't come. This is Alberta's little secret, and we'd like to keep it all to ourselves. But if you insist on visiting, we'll welcome you with open arms and send you away feeling like you've had the best time you've ever had.

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