LWe spent all last Wednesday driving to West Yellowstone in the hopes of finding some serious snow as the glacier in our front yard retreated in 40 degree weather and the trails on Mt. Spokane seemed increasingly icy.
We were NOT disappointed in the West Yellowstone snow scene as viewed from our motel window.
Last summer we stayed at The Dude which is not open in winter. Searching mainly by price and location, I chose the Stagecoach Inn. Reading the reviews I noticed that vegans and vegetarians were uncomfortable at the Stagecoach. If you find taxidermy off putting it would be a problem.
Our first day of skiing was at the Rendezvous Ski Area. (Sorry no pictures but the site links to a map and web cam.) We were worried about cold as the wind chill was 10 degrees but we worked up a sweat especially during our afternoon ski when the sun came out. The trail system is a series of loops with cut offs and links between. We skied the Rendezvous loop in the morning and Deja View loop in the afternoon. There were some views of the mountains and the hills and curves of the trails were fun but I wouldn’t call the course scenic unless you absolutely LOVE Lodgepole pine. Day two we bought an Idaho Park n’ Ski pass. It’s $ 7.50 for 3 days but we opted to do 3 skis in one day. We did two loops along the Buffalo River. We didn’t see any other skiers but we saw two moose who swam across the river in front of us. Most beautiful was the panorama of the Tetons as we drove to our final ski Canyon Rim which was about an hour and a half southwest of West Yellowstone.
No amazing wildlife sightings but a huge trailer pulled into the parking lot and two couples hopped out, hitched two beautiful horses to a wooden sleigh, and rode up
Highway 47 which is closed from this point for winter. It looked like fun!
Saturday morning we did a quick ski to the Madison River. The trail started at our summer refuge The Dude. The shorter river loop was too narrow and icy for our mediocre skills so we skied a bit along the top of the river canyon. We extended our vacation a fourth night by heading to Missoula and taking our favorite walk along the Clark’s Fork river. They seemed to be a bit short on snow in mountains around Missoula but we woke up to a dusting of new snow. We drove to Lolo Pass where we skied in a full fledged snow storm so conditions were the opposite of our icy West Yellowstone ski. After an hour of breaking trail and finding a trail in the snowstorm at Lolo we headed back to Spokane. Dennis won’t trade in his gray ski coat for red but he says he will let me buy him an orange fleece hat for photographic purposes. It will be easier to follow him in heavy snow too.