Refuse to be Passive

A hostel in Jasper? I wish!

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I have a dream…I suppose that is the nature of a dreamer. Although my personal preference is to be known as a “possibilities thinker.” At any given time, I can imagine multiple futures that I would want to turn into reality. Although my dreams for the future continue to primarily be directed towards becoming a personal chef, another dream has recently appeared on my horizon, not necessarily at the exclusion of the other. Upon moving to Jasper a few months ago– four, actually– I was surprised to find that there was no hostel in the town site. The closest hostel was halfway up Whistlers Mountain at the Tramway nearly 7 km away. This struck me as odd. As a firm believer in using hostels as accommodation, I couldn’t help but question why in the world there would be no easily accessible, affordable accommodation in Jasper. Hotels are out of many people’s price range, and even the in-town approved accommodation starts at $95 per night during the high season. For many travelers, this is simply outside of their budget. Hostels can accommodate a person for as little as $25 per night. That, and many people are also taking their vacations by public transit, meaning that getting to a hostel 7km out of town requires them to take a shuttle or taxi, which they have to pay for. Assuming they’re spending multiple days in Jasper, that trip back and forth can add up quickly. 

After doing a little digging around, I think I’ve discovered why there is no hostel in Jasper. It’s not that the town doesn’t want one. They know what it could do for their local economy. The issue is with the prohibitive expenses of finding and developing an appropriate site within town. As a woman under 30, I know that there is grant funding for starting new businesses, as well as mentorships available to young entrepreneurs, to ensure that business start-up succeeds. There are also loans targeted specifically at my age range. While it would no doubt take more than a little work to develop a business plan, do the marketing, procure a site, develop the site, and jump through all the hoops and red tape required, it is something I would be willing to do. I’ve always wanted to run a hostel. Could this be my chance? Obviously, one of the biggest challenges will be the finances and finding investors. On that topic I am more than a little intimidated. However, I am convinced that with the right support from the town, it’s citizens, and investors, a hostel could not only survive in Jasper, but thrive, making it a viable vacation alternative for people who might otherwise choose Banff or another place in the Rockies, simply due to fiscal realities and hostel location. What do you think? Would the town of Jasper benefit from a hostel?


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