Banff Jasper Collection

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Your adventure begins with a ride onto the Athabasca Glacier in an all-terrain Ice Explorer – a massive vehicle specially designed for glacier travel. On this thrilling trip, an experienced driver-guide will share a wealth of fascinating information about glaciers and their impact on our environment. 

You’ll stop, step onto the glacier and let the moment take hold. It’s the perfect time to take photos in this breathtaking setting.

The grand finale to this experience is a stroll on the Glacier Skywalk: a cliff-edged walkway where giant glaciers perch above you and the spectacular Sunwapta Valley spreads out below.

The Glacier Skywalk experience features waterfalls, wildlife, fossils and more on an exciting 1-kilometre walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot drop. The walk is presented in an interpretive storytelling format that will leave  you feeling connected to a natural world that few travelers experience.

Please note: Weather conditions can change rapidly. We recommend all guests dress accordingly (closed toe shoes /boots with a good grip; jacket / sweater). In more severe weather conditions access from the Ice Explorer out onto to the glacier surface may be inaccessible (i.e. thunderstorm, etc.)

Stories from the Glacier Adventure

The Glacier

Though apparently tranquil, the Columbia Icefield is a powerful, dynamic force, shaping the regional landscape and climate. Its glaciers endlessly advance and retreat in an ancient elemental dance, in a place where time is measured in millennia.

The Columbia Icefield is located in Jasper National Park. The Icefield – the largest body of ice in the Canadian Rockies – is one of the reasons why the United Nations declared Canada's four Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Sites. The Icefield covers 215 square kilometres with solid ice estimated up to 365 metres (1,200 feet) deep. Meltwater from the Icefield flows to three oceans: the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic via Hudson Bay.

Elevations: 

  • Icefall: 2,700 m (8,900 ft)
  • Ice Explorer turn around: 2,210 m (7,000 ft)
  • Toe: 1,965 m (6,300 ft)
 

 

Columbia Icefield:

  • Area: 215 square kilometres (130 square miles)
  • Highest point: Mount Columbia, 3,745 m (12,284 ft)
  • Average elevation: 3,000 m (10,000 ft)
  • Greatest depth (estimated): 365 m (1,200 ft)
  • Average snowfall: 7 m (23 ft) per year

 

Athabasca Glacier:  

  • Type: Outlet valley glacier
  • Area: 6 square kilometres (2.5 square miles)
  • Length: 6 kilometres (3.75 miles)
  • Depth (estimated): 90 - 300 m (270 - 1,000 ft)
  • Icefall: 125 m/year (400 ft)
  • Ice Explorer turn around: 25 m/year (80 ft)
  • Toe: 15 m/year (50 ft)

Ice Explorers

The Ice Explorers provides all-terrain mobility to transport up to 56 passengers, equipped with large, low pressure tires, the bus can be used to transport personnel in on-road/off-road applications. Extra large side and top windows provide greater all-around visibility.

Dimensions:

  • Height: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)
  • Length: 42 ft 8 in (13.0 m)
  • Width: 11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)
  • Weight: 55,000 lbs (25,000 kg)
  • Tare: 43,000 lbs (19,500 kg)
  • G.V.W.: 55,000 lbs (25,000 kg)

Powertrain: 

  • Engine: DDA 6V92TA (DDEC), 253 HP (189 kW) @ 2100 RPM
  • Transmission: Clark 34000 Series Powershift
  • Suspension: Leaf spring - front // Walking beam - rear
  • Axles: Rockwell Drive Steer Planetary front; Rockwell Planetary rear
  • Tires: Goodyear Terra Tires 66 x 43.00 x 25
  • Brakes: Air over hydraulic front drums; air rear drums

One quarter of Pursuit's Ice Explorer fleet that tours the Athabasca Glacier are extra-long, with special wheelchair lifts and can comfortably carry up to two wheelchairs at a time in addition to the regular 56 passenger seats.

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

Pursuit's Glacier Experience was recognized for its dedication to implementing the best practice in water, energy, recycling and flora/fauna protection at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre in Jasper National Park.

Attractions Canada
Pursuit's Glacier Experience received the National Level Award in 2001 as Canada’s best natural outdoor site larger than 100 hectares.

PERC
Department of Canadian Heritage presented the PERC Award to Pursuit's Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre for their efforts in reducing power consumption in Jasper National Park. This Centre, jointly built in 1996 with Parks Canada, was designed to be environmentally sensitive in setting and construction, water and power consumption, and sewage and solid waste management.

The Columbia Icefields Glacier Discovery Centre

Parks Canada Information Desk
In a unique partnership, Parks Canada provides information to visitors on local campgrounds, weather and things to do in the area. They can also issue park passes, backcountry passes and is a checkpoint for climbers ascending Mount Athabasca. The Parks Canada desk is located on the main level of the Glacier Discovery Centre across from the Gift Shop.

Parks Canada Glacier Gallery
Come and witness incredible displays and visually exciting exhibits about the Columbia Icefield area and its impact on the regional environment. This self-guided tour takes you back in time to discover how a glacier moves, the importance of icefields in climate research, plus information about the area and local wildlife. Catch the international award-winning new film created for the Glacier Gallery — "Through Ice and Time".
The Parks Canada Glacier Gallery will be closed May 16 – July 1 for renovations.

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