I went to to the Jasper Pride and Ski Festival with my boyfriend and it was not what you might expect from an Albertan town! We were really impressed at how the local community really came together to put on a great festival for the LGBTQ+ community.
Jasper is a small town located in Western Alberta and during the festival the whole place is transformed into a colorful and vibrant celebration of love and diversity. Businesses decorate their windows with rainbow colors and the streets are lined with rainbow banners.
The festival was 10 days long, but we were only there for three days of it. During that time we got to experience a bunch of stuff, which of course included skiing (as per the name of the festival) at Marmot Basin. The weather was perfect (quite warm in fact because it’s the end of the season) and I wore my rainbow neck warmer for the occasion. It wasn’t the big Pride day at the ski hill, but it still looked like Pride with a lot of rainbows inside and outside of the lodge.
Back in town, we checked out all the pride decorations and walked around the downtown area to look at the painted windows. We were really impressed by how many businesses had decorated for Pride. Jasper may be a small town in Alberta, but it certainly knows how to celebrate Pride. In fact, Jasper has the third biggest Pride in the province, only behind Calgary and Edmonton.
A fun evening during our trip was when we went to Drag Bingo. It was very popular and packed with people. Like most of the festival it didn’t cost anything so if you’re in Jasper next year I highly recommend checking it out and going early (you can enjoy some great food and drinks at the Jasper Brewing Company while you wait).
Another neat activity was the Pride Storytime at the Public Library. I was invited to go and check it out, but they ended up asking me to read a story to the kids as well. I read My Shadow is Pink which is about a little boy who feels different compared to the other boys. It was actually an emotional experience for me, having grown up in Alberta myself during a different time.
During the festival, we also went to Pride Peaks at the Jasper Skytram, where we went up to the top of Whistlers Mountain for some amazing views. We got to have lunch while being entertained by great drag queens with amazing views behind them.
Finally, we attended Sâkihitowin, which was a celebration of the two-spirit community. It was a fun night of drag and dancers, and it was also free to attend. The community came out in big numbers to cheer on the entertainers and wind down the festival.
Overall, the Jasper Pride and Ski Festival was a great experience. We had a lot of fun and met a bunch of awesome people. During the festival is a great time to visit Jasper, and you get to experience the best of all worlds – skiing, Pride, and incredible nature.
This experience was provided by Tourism Jasper. They had no input on my writing, all thoughts are my own.