West Yellowstone, MT, December 15, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- Last weekend’s snowstorms exceeded all forecasts by dumping up to 22” of new snow in parts of Yellowstone Park and the surrounding area. These new totals will guarantee a full oversnow Winter opening tomorrow, according to an announcement by Yellowstone officials.
The West Entrance to Yellowstone, here in West Yellowstone, will open at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 for All oversnow vehicles. The plentiful snow will allow all park-authorized snowcoach and snowmobile guided vehicles. The first day’s delayed opening is due to removing administrative vehicles and last minute grooming. Travel will be allowed only to the Old Faithful area. The warming hut and rest rooms at Madison Junction will be open. (The South Entrance will also open on December 15th at 7:00 A.M.)
The following day, December 16th, all remaining interior roads in Yellowstone will open to all oversnow vehicles including the Canyon area. The road from Mammoth to Norris is restricted to rubber tracked snow coaches only until further notice. The East Entrance will open as scheduled for the core season on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009.
Snow accumulations are also building outside West Yellowstone in the National Forests with 32” of snow being reported at the Madison Plateau Snotel station. The first of many large snowmobile groups hit the trail system last weekend.
West Yellowstone is the western gateway to Yellowstone. Each winter, from December 15th to March 15th (weather permitting), the gate opens to oversnow tours of Yellowstone. Each morning, snowcoach and snowmobile tours depart for the interior of Yellowstone. These park concessionaires are ready to go and adaptable to whatever weather conditions dictate.
“With the amount of snowcoaches that we have built up over the past few years, we have both ample seating and the flexibility to quickly change whether tracks or tires are required,” explains Randy Roberson, owner of YellowstoneVacations.com. Roberson states that they have been preparing every part of the business even including, “Our great guides are all ready, trained, and just anxious to go.”
“We are ready to take anyone into Yellowstone that wants to go on December 15th,” states Clyde Seely of Three Bear Lodge and SeeYellowstone.com Tours. Kay Mathews, Marketing Director of AllYellowstone.com, adds, “We are ready to go! Our fleets are ready to go and we will get our guest into Old Faithful no matter what!” Concessionaires are in the process of completing guide orientation and training with staff from Yellowstone Park.
Winter activities are underway already in West Yellowstone. The West Yellowstone Classic Sled Dog races had a record 44 mushers and teams in last weekend’s first circuit race of the season. Snowmobiling has started as well with over 400 miles of inter-connected groomed, marked trails that wind through the national forests in Montana and Idaho. Local businesses offer everything you need for a day on the trails from snowmobile to full clothing to trail maps.
This year’s cross country skiing has been great. Snow has been preserved by cold nights and constant grooming. Skiers can choose between three different trails that start in West Yellowstone, access to 40 miles of ski trails at Old Faithful in Yellowstone, and the some of the best back country skiing in the country.
There are plenty of indoor activities too. Beginning December 19th (every Sunday through March 14th), join a Yellowstone Park ranger for an illustrated program highlighting a fascinating aspect of Yellowstone' natural, cultural or scenic wonders. Meet at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center at 201 South Canyon Street at 1:30 PM, 3:00 PM (Sundays) or at the Visitor Information Center at 30 Yellowstone Avenue at 7:00 PM (Saturdays or Sundays).
Take an afternoon and visit the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, an animal sanctuary featuring live grizzlies and wolves and naturalist presentations. Across the street is the IMAX Theater featuring movies about Yellowstone and its wildlife.
West Yellowstone is a full winter vacation destination offering a variety of lodging and restaurant options. Family-friendly amenities including kitchen suites, family units, and indoor swimming pools are both economical and kid-pleasing.
For the latest information on winter activities and conditions, please contact the West Yellowstone Chamber Visitor Center at 406-646-7701 or visit www.destinationyellowstone.com.