The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge maintains a skating ovals in the winter. If you ever want to skate on frozen lake, this is one of the places to do so. Natural cracks do form on lakes, so beware that it does not have a perfect surface when skating. They also clear hockey rink size areas for hockey.
This was Patricia Lake on Monday 5th of December. The ice is about 1/2 inch (1.27cm) thick and was checked scientifically by our @alpineart guy of @jasperweddings transport service. After stepping on to the ice, needless to say, it was not thick enough to support any weight just yet.
The lake looks hopeful for the end of this week, the nights are dropping to the minus 20 range, and if the snow holds off, the ice will be very smooth.
This is a warning to those who want to explore areas that are not ready for any activities on lakes. The crack shot off across the lake in mere seconds when the ice broke through along the bank.
Each year, VIA Rail workers & together with other kind Jasper folks volunteer precious time, energy & resources to put on this great event: the Annual Santa Train. They don’t just volunteer on the day of the event, this year November 29th. They put in countless hours planning & then making it happen.
VIA Rail Volunteer greets us & announces Santa’s
Volunteers hand out oranges & candy canes.
Jasper Food Bank
This entire event is all about the true spirit of Christmas. In addition to purchasing tickets, passengers are requested to bring food items and other donations for the Jasper Food Bank.
Patrick Mooney, president of the Jasper Food Bank Society spent the day sitting in chaos central of the train station as kids, parents & donations piled up inside the old building. By the end of the 2 train runs that day, one in the morning & the train we took at 3pm, there was a pretty decent pile of donations for Patrick to haul away.
Anne, head of the volunteers, sold raffle tickets to help pump up cash reserves for the food bank.
Building up the Santa Buzz
You can’t imagine the excitement that built up from the moment we left the Jasper train station. As we left heading west, towards B.C., we were told that Santa had missed the train. But, if we kept watching out the window towards the south, we might see Santa flying past in his sleigh. I swear I eventually was believing I’d see him out there!
The looks on those little faces were priceless. But when we entered a train tunnel through the mountain, I swear one of my little companions was going to loose it. Just as the tears were building up in his eyes, a VIA volunteer loudly announced that Santa had been spotted … perfect timing.
Santa landed on the Train
… Or so we were told. Santa didn’t disappoint us. He walked through the train singing Jingle Bells, followed by his helper elf volunteers who handed out bags of little gifts.
I didn’t even notice when the train stopped and started reversing back to Jasper. The trip was about 2 hours total. On the return trip, kids were invited to take their turns heading back to the dome car where they could have their pictures taken with Santa.
Watching the stars in the dark sky is a fun event anyone can enjoy. Just find a moonless night and a dark preserve and the twinkles of the stars will light you up.
A group gathered for some viewing of the stars with telescopes, binoculars and cameras to watch the clear skies at 5th bridge in the Maligne valley. Jasper Planetarium supplied the telescopes and knowledgeable staff.
Note: One thing about going out in winter is have spare batteries and good warm clothing and you will enjoy the adventure a whole lot better.