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Snowshow Magazine

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing on the Rendezvous Ski Trails and in Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone, MT

- PO Box 458, West Yellowstone MT 59758

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West Yellowstone, MT (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. The park in winter provides snowscapes painted with steamy hot springs and glistening white powder. You'll revel in ski-bound exploration. If you like seeing wildlife, at Yellowstone National Park, the plentiful buffalo and elk will thrill you! The altitude is not a problem here but the location helps to assure that snow comes early and stays late. In West Yellowstone there are plenty of restaurants, shops and places to stay. Spending a day or two on the Rendezvous Trail System is a perfect way to complement your vacation in Yellowstone National Park.

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The Rendezvous Ski Trails (406/646-7701, www.rendezvousskitrails.com) is the place where Gold Medal Grooming and Reliable Snow come together to create an xc skier's dream. Easily accessible from the town of West Yellowstone, MT, the trail system is on USFS land and it is managed through a cooperative partnership between the Forest Service, the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce and the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation (WYSEF). At peak season there are 35 km of gently rolling, beautifully groomed trails that wind through tall stands of lodgepole pine and open meadows. The trails are comfortably wide and they are groomed for both classic and skate skiing. Skiers should keep their eyes open for wildlife because moose, elk, deer and pine martens are frequent visitors to the trails.

Trail passes are required when using the Rendezvous Ski Trails between Nov 1 and Mar 31. In Nov, month long trail passes are $45, 3-day passes are $20 and daily passes are $8. From Dec 1 through Mar 31, the cost share agreement between the USFWS, the Chamber and the Foundation is in effect and season passes are $25 with daily passes for $5. Passes can be purchased at the trailhead, the USFS, the Chamber of Commerce and from several local merchants including Freeheel & Wheel and Bud Lilly's Trout Shop.

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Rental xc ski and snowshoe equipment are available at the Freeheel & Wheel retail shop at 40 Yellowstone Blvd. and other outdoors stores in West Yellowstone (406/646-7744). In town, there is an IMAX movie theater (888) 854-5862 and the Grizzley & Wolf Discovery Center, too.

The Rendezvous Ski Trails are home to the Yellowstone Ski Festival (www.yellowstoneskifestival.com), a five-day event during Thanksgiving Week that includes Fall Camp Clinics, the Try It and Buy It Gear Demo, an Indoor Ski Show and the NorAm XC Supertour Races. The clinics cover both skate and classic ski techniques and he demo is the first and largest public xc ski demo of the year. By car, West Yellowstone is about one hour from Big Sky.