branding Layer_1

An intimate look at the humans of Jasper, Canada

When you first get to know Mike Lodge, you’d likely be surprised to learn that he wasn’t born and raised in Jasper.

3 Day Family Friendly Adventure

Have a memorable time venturing beyond with the family in Jasper National Park. There’s endless ways to spend quality family time, from ice-skating to ski-touring, and hiking to snowkiting – there’s an adventure for all levels. 

Skill Level

3 days
2703 M

Sun or snow, you’re likely to see him ripping around the streets of town on his bicycle. Wherever he goes, he runs into someone he knows and slows down to catch up on what’s new and exciting since they last saw each other (which, admittedly, probably wasn’t that long ago). He knows the town, the people, the park, and the peaks as if he’s been here forever. 

“I actually grew up in Montreal,” he’ll tell you if you ask. “I came out here probably about twenty years ago.”

Before he found his way to Jasper, it was an outdoor program focusing on guiding and the business side of doing so – a combination of two things he’s always had an affinity for - that initially drew him westward to Kamloops. He then took what he learned east, drawn to Jasper National Park by its extensive waterways and river systems.

“I love the water features in Jasper; the lakes and rivers,” he recalls of that early attraction. “Seeing the vistas and mountains from the water is an incredible perspective. Plus, I was really into how living in Jasper is a bit of a mix of city community and country life.”

He got work as a guide with Jasper’s Whitewater Rafting, the oldest commercial rafting company in the park.  And while it was a love of the pristine lakes and glacial rivers that brought him here, it was love of another kind that convinced him to stay,

“When I met my wife she was planting flowers out in front of the Whistle Stop,” a local watering hole in the middle of town. Mel, a second-generation Parks Canada staffer and the woman he would eventually marry, is the born and raised Jasper local in this pair. They were well matched in a lot of ways, and Jasper’s active culture suited their adventurous outdoor style perfectly.

Mike noticed early in his time here that the inhabitants of Jasper take eagerly to a diverse array of interests. As far as he’s concerned, it is a community full of people who make time for the activities they love, and he was eager to follow suit. Always one to embrace new interests and inspired by the lives of his friends and neighbours, living in Jasper motivated Mike to venture beyond the waterways and try new things. 

“I’d love to get back into rock climbing one day. Mount Peveril is great because it’s so accessible and it’s one of those climbs where you really feel like you’ve accomplished something."

Mike Lodge

Soon, ski touring, cross country and downhill skiing, and even mountain climbing joined rafting and canoeing as some of his favourite ways to spend his days. In fact, he’s the type of guy who’s tried just about everything Jasper has to offer; a jack of all adventures, seemingly regardless of intensity.

“I’d love to get back into rock climbing one day,” he muses thoughtfully. “Mount Peveril is great because it’s so accessible and it’s one of those climbs where you really feel like you’ve accomplished something. I’ve climbed Edith Cavell too. I definitely want to do that again.”

But for now, as tempting as Cavell - the most prominent peak in Alberta’s Rockies at a soaring 3,363 metres (over 11,000 feet) - may be, the call of her siren song falls on deaf ears. These days, Mike’s idea of time well-spent looks a lot more like instilling his two young daughters with outdoor confidence and an appetite for adventure than an extreme expedition for one.

“For me and for my family, to venture beyond means to move beyond what is ordinary,” he says. “Something like taking my kids cross country skiing on Maligne Lake for overnight camping trip at Hidden Cove enables them to move away from their comfort zone. It’s amazing that we have the opportunity to do that for our kids. Going camping along the Icefields Parkway with my wife or friends lets us to reconnect in a way we used to before we all had families. It reminds us of who we are.”

"Having kids has given me the chance to expose more people to adventure.”

Mike Lodge

Having a young family has meant that, for Mike, activities like ski touring or ice climbing has taken a back seat. On a snowy winter’s day you’re more likely to find him and his family skiing at Marmot Basin, skating at Pyramid or Patricia Lake, or exploring the depths of a frozen Maligne Canyon.

And while some might think that slowing down to a child’s pace is a waste of opportunity, Mike couldn’t disagree more,

“Having kids has given me the chance to expose more people to adventure,” he defends resolutely. “Just being outside with the kids and seeing their confidence build, it makes you feel like, as a parent, you’re doing a good job.”

In truth, sharing this love of both adventure and of Jasper is essentially what Mike is all about. Whether he’s introducing his kids to a new outdoor activity, connecting with the visiting explorers he guides through Sundog Tours, or even just taking some time to get out on the trails with Walli, the family dog, he is always looking to share his Jasper with other willing explorers.

This summer, with the help of a few good friends, he’ll come full circle as he shares his Jasper from his favourite vantage point: the water. As co-owner of Wild Current Outfitters – a new guiding and outfitting company that he has helped to establish - he’ll return to raft and canoe guiding (which will include the use of a 26 foot voyageur-style they built by hand) to show explorers some of his best-loved places in the park.

3 Day Family Friendly Adventure

Day 1

Breakfast at O'Shea's

Cross-Country Skiing

Hike Old Fort Point

Day 2


Pizza Dinner

Day 3

Morning Ice Skate


Keep Exploring

Erin Reade

Poised at the top of Charlie’s Bowl on a blue bird day, warm despite it being the dead of winter thanks to the natural wonder that is inversion, Erin Reade takes it all in.

Read Erin's Story

5 Minute Read

Story by Sara Hamil

Photos by Cory Johnn

“Pushing yourself beyond your own comfort zone, that’s what it means to me to venture beyond." – Erin Reade

Gillian Thompson

Gillian Thompson has permanently called Canada’s base of adventure home for the past six years. Originally a native of Barrie, Ontario, living in the west hadn't necessarily been part of her plan.

Read Gillian's Story

4 Minute Read

Story by Sara Hamil

Photos by Cory Johnn

"There’s a natural high and a feeling of accomplishment that come with getting out there." – Gillian Thompson