cross country skiing and snowshoeing in West YellowSTone, Montana

West Yellowstone, Montana (www.westyellowstonechamber.com) is the entrance to Yellowstone National Park, (www.nps.gov/yell) the first and oldest national park in the world and also the home of the famous Old Faithful geyser. West Yellowstone's winter highlights beside cross-country skiing and snowshoeing include snowcoach tours, sled dog trips, and extensive snowmobile opportunities. There is an IMAX movie theater (888) 854-5862 and the Grizzley & Wolf Discovery Center, too. If you like seeing wildlife, check out Yellowstone National Park, as the plentiful buffalo and elk will thrill you!

Rendezvous Ski Trails (406/646-7701, www.rendezvousskitrails.com) has 40 km of expertly groomed trails located in West Yellowstone, which are the site of the first public cross-country ski demo day of the season held every year after Thanksgiving. The trails are well marked and groomed for classic and skate skiing. Lodging and services are not available on the trail, but are plentiful in the town. By car, West Yellowstone is about one hour from Big Sky. For a full page of info about the Rendezvous Ski Trails, click here. CCSAA member

Reports coming out of the Yellowstone National Park are that there are now many groomed trails for xc skiers and snowshoers. At Xanterra Snowlodge there are some beginner loops and a 14 km track groomed for classic and skate skiing called the Lone Star Geyser Trail. Or you can skate the snowmobile road at sunrise from Old Faithful to Craig Pass and back in a 50 km outing before the snowmobilers hit the trail. The Blacktail Plateau has 10 km of groomed trail with a vehicle shuttle and there are animal viewings all over the place. Check Bear Den Ski Shop at Old Faithful 307-344-5276 for more details about where to enjoy Yellowstone.

Here is a link to Yellowstone National Park at http://www.nps.gov/yell/

Yellowstone Expeditions in West Yellowstone (800/728-9333, www.yellowstoneexpeditions.com offers a backcountry guide service into Yellowstone National Park, there are a variety of 4, 5 and 8-day packages and tours available starting at $600. Explore the majestry of winter in Yellowstone Park, where your neighbors are bison, elk, trumpeter swans and Canada geese. Food and guide services are furnished with snowcoach transportation. Insulated and heated tent-cabins are double-occupancy backcountry accommodations. Personal guides will provide a basic understanding about Yellowstone's natural surroundings and human history in a relaxed and low-pressure learning experience. Set up the telescope at night, dig a snow pit, build a snow shelter, listen for owls at night and examine the tracks of an ermine.

The Canyon Yurt Camp is a base at 8,000' near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River that has outfitted and heated accommodations. Trips to destinations such as Inspiration Point, Forest Hot Springs, Washburn Hot Springs, Natural Bridge and more.