When we rode through the town of West Yellowstone on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride last summer it was swarming with tourists and a decent hotel room was was a prize to be coveted.  When we arrived yesterday, in the middle of winter, the town looked more like a ghost town than a tourist trap:

 

West Yellowstone in Winter

 
Most of the businesses are shuttered for the winter.  I would guess that the population at this time of year hovers around a hundred or two.  The stoplight at the end of town still operates but few cars heed it.  A dog  could probably get away with sleeping in the middle of main street.  He’d have to have a thick coat of fur, however, because at 6600 ft elevation, it’s cold here.

But all that is fine with us because we came here to ski and the skiing is fabulous.  In fact, of all the ski areas we have visited on this trip (about 20!), West Yellowstone’s Rendezvous Nordic Center is the best.  The paucity of tourists has also caused the few motels still open for business into a cutthroat competition which has greatly reduced the price of a room over last summer.

We skied the Rendezvous yesterday but the new snow hadn’t yet been packed down so the going was tough and we were pooped after a couple of hours.  We returned today.  We were the first skiers on the newly groomed snow which made for a glorious ski on the gently rolling hills through the forest of lodgepole pine.  If we ever need to get out of Chelan for another ski vacation we have agreed that this is the place to come.

So pumped were we by our morning of skate skiing that after returning to our motel for lunch we donned our back country skis and skied into the park which wasn’t all that hard since the park boundary is only a block away.  We skied down by the Madison River and had a great view of the park’s expanse to the east (the opening photo.)

 

By the Madison River

 
Lucky for us a few souvenir shops remain open here in winter because we noticed a nifty bronze casting of three bears in a canoe in our hotel lobby and we rushed out to buy one for ourselves:

  
I took a great G0Pro-like video of Mary skiing that I wanted to share but I just changed the operating system of my iPad to iOS 9.2 and it refuses to accept videos from my camera.  (It also erased most of my music.)

After such a great day of skiing as today was, Mary and I have agreed that it would be hard to top so rather than be disappointed we’re going to head home tomorrow.  After all, we wouldn’t want to get too much of a good thing.

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