Winter Fun in Yellowstone

Into the woods

A few years ago, over President’s Day weekend, we drove up to West Yellowstone, Montana to play in the snow. The previous year we had visited Yellowstone National Park in the summer for the first time and had stayed in West Yellowstone on our way out. We thought it would be nice to see it in winter. The plan was to cross country ski and snowshoe on the trails in the area. We drove up on a Friday morning and checked in at the Stagecoach Inn. We had stayed there the previous year and liked the ambiance of the place.

West Yellowstone is a small town on the western side of Yellowstone National Park. It is very popular with snowmobilers entering the park, as well as snow coaches that travel to Old Faithful and other places in the park.

During the winter, though there are lots of snowmobilers it is quite a bit more quiet than in the summer. Several of the motels were boarded up.

We liked the vibe of the place. There is also a pretty good bookstore in town and some nice places to eat.

On Saturday we headed out to the ski trails right on the edge of town. These is a network of nice trails through the woods along the Madison River.

The weather was cold but clear and beautiful. After a few hours the older kids headed back to the motel, while me and the two little boys took off on another trail. After about two miles we found a nice hill that the boys had fun skiing down. It was at about this time that the sole of my ski boot completely delaminated from the boot. This was a pair of old Asolo leather three pin telemark boots that I had bought when I was a college student. Needless to say, I had skied many miles with them and a few years previous the same thing happened and I had a cobbler repair them. Luckily I had some duct tape and put a few good wraps all the way around the boot and sole. This kept it together mostly, but made for pretty lousy skiing. I limped the few miles back to the trailhead with the boys in tow.

That night we had good pizza at the highly recommended Wild West Pizzeria.

Seven people in a motel room with two queen beds can get pretty crazy. By Saturday night I needed some air. So, in a heavy snowstorm I went out for a run. I ran all around town, then up the highway north out of town for a few miles. After about two and a half hours I was feeling much better and returned to the confines of the motel room where my wife and kids were watching a movie.

We relaxed and explored the town on Sunday, then were back out on the trails on Monday morning. It was very cold, about 10 degrees. My wife, youngest son, and daughter went out snowshoeing in the forest. it was nice to get off the trails and just explore at will. We had a great time tramping around in the deep snow in the quiet forest.

Later in the day I went back to the woods alone to take pictures. I love trees and forests, especially in Winter. I had a good time tramping around with my camera photographing trees, lichen, pine cones, etc.The kids would never have put up with this kind of silly behavior.

We drove back home late Monday. We had a great trip and the kids still talk about how much fun it was. Though we cross country ski and snowshoe pretty regularly in the mountains around our home, sometimes it’s fun to get out of town and see some new terrain.


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