Sunday, December 11, 2016

West Yellowstone Trip Report


In early December, a few underemployed DN members panicked at the lack of snow in Winnipeg and fled on a last minute decision.  We drove 16 hours overnight to West Yellowstone, Montana and the promise of the groomed Rendezvous ski trails.
An annual trail pass for the Rendezvous trails is $40, or $8 per day.  Cheap accommodation was easily obtained through Airbnb.  As early December is still the off season, West Yellowstone is basically a ghost town and weeknight rates are very reasonable.  We stayed at the Wyndham time-share condos which featured indoor pool, hot tubs, exercise room and a games room. These were very useful as we tried to hold ourselves back from over skiing so early in the season.  

An apres ski foosball game
An apres-ski hot tub session

                                                     An apres-ski change session

West Yellowstone is located at an elevation of 2032 m.  This altitude left us feeling winded and tired for much of the week.  The Rendezvous trails are also rarely flat, which also contributed to us flat-landers feeling fatigued.

Stig feeling the effects of the altitude

 The ski trails were initially soft, which made for slow and difficult skiing. On the third day, we awoke to temperatures of -35 C, but we bravely ventured out nevertheless and discovered newly groomed trails that were hard packed. With the sun shining, we had the best day of skiing yet.

Dressed for the cold and enjoying the sun
The last two days of skiing were near perfect.  Hard packed, freshly groomed and basically empty trails. It felt as though we had the whole town and ski trails to ourselves.

The West Yellowstone area has various other ski trails outside of town that we did not have time to expore. All of Yellowstone’s unplowed roads and trails are open to cross country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. There is also the possibility of a long marathon ski to Old Faithful.  These possibilities will keep West Yellowstone on our radar in the winters to come.