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Yellowstone in Winter?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Northern Rockies. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Northern Rockies Climbing Partners section.
 

Re: Yellowstone in Winter?

Postby withfenway » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:33 pm

I did a yurt trip to Yellowstone in January of 2010 and it was absolutely spectacular!!! Yellowstone Expeditions was a great outfitter (Check out their link: http://yellowstoneexpeditions.com/ ) Arden, the owner of the company, has been a geologist in the park for 30+ years, and the other guides are biologists/ adventurists of sorts, and they are not only knowlegable, but know all sorts of great places to go and can cater to your comfort level/ experience... My friends and I still consider it a "5 star camping experience," as they prepare all of your meals, guide you on amazing outings, and at the end of the day, you get to sleep in a cozy warm "yurt-let."

They pick you up in West Yellowstone, and you arrive to the camp (which is smack in the middle of the park) via snowcat... We were lucky enough to watch a pack of wolves hunt and take down an elk (And our guide happened to be a wolf biologist!), by far, one of the coolest things I've ever seen... We spent the rest of the week cross country skiing across calderas, checking out frozen waterfalls, thermals and hot springs, and seeing lots of wildlife (bison, elk, eagles, otters, coyotes, etc.) AND we walked right up to Old Faithful at the end of the week, as there were no people in the park...

I can't say enough good things about the experience, and I would go back in a heartbeat (And I thought the cost was more than reasonable for the accomodations and experience as a whole)

Even if you don't book a trip through them, I would say Yellowstone is spectacular in the winter and in my opinion, is the absolute best time to visit...

Enjoy your trip!!!
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Re: Yellowstone in Winter?

Postby tigerlilly » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:53 pm

OK, So we just got back. I'm on the airplane home as I write this.
My typing might not be great.
1) do it. go there. it is worth any hassle to get there. each day was a new miracle and I repeatedly caught myself thinking "damn, this is the best day of my life..."
2) Mammoth Hotel is where to go for animal sightings. You are also able to drive to it, which is a huge plus. Lamar valley revealed wolves, bison, elk, eagles, you name it. I saw hundreds of animals in one day. Bring the best binoculars you have. The road is nicely plowed.
3)The hotel has free ice skating!
4) a short drive from the hotel reveals a river with hot springs! bring your bathing suit and warmest clothes you have. when you get out of the river you will be cold - very very cold. have something warm and easy to put on ready.
5) Bring your own Xcountry skiis. Renting is more than the cost of the airplane xtra baggage fee. but the staff and equipment at Mammoth are excellent. so if you have to rent, rest assured. Your in good hands.
6) I'm used to skiing in new england. when they say the conditions are crap, don't believe them. They just mean it didn't snow the day before.
7)Old Faithful Winter Hotel is drop dead gorgeous inside. Clean. Staff was excellent
8) If you want to rent a ski mobile,think again. It is expensive and more than likely, all ready booked. not to mention noisy and cold!
9) -10F is OK, because it is a dry -10F. Didn't feel that cold. That said, I had on 4 layers.
10) You can ski all around the park - which is fun. If you can take a shuttle or drive a small distance from the hotel, and get on one of the more remote trails, you will be rewarded. The snow is deep soft powder, you are in pine forests draped with powder snow, trails follow half frozen streams or rivers that make a lovely gurgly sound. Bison are in the open fields. It is nothing short of gorgeous!
Hope this helps,
TL
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