This year marks the 26th season that West Yellowstone,
Montana has played host to cross country skiers during the month of November.
Known for years as Fall Camp, the renamed Yellowstone Ski Festival takes place
during Thanksgiving Week on November 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26, 2005.
West Yellowstone's location and elevation mean
that we usually have enough snow to start grooming our trails by mid-November.
Back in the late 1970's, the US Ski Team started to make annual trips to West
Yellowstone and soon after that, Drew Barney and Dick Hunt started a series
of Nordic ski clinics during the week of Thanksgiving. Eventually, Drew and
Dick invited the major ski manufacturers to attend and allow the public to
demo the latest in Nordic equipment. Today, this gathering of skiers is called
the Yellowstone Ski Festival and the event includes skate and classic clinics
for skiers of all levels, the Try It and Buy It Gear Demo, an Indoor Ski Show
and the NorAm XC Supertour races.
A note about the 2004 Yellowstone Ski Festival:
Attendance at the 2004 event was up 25% over 2003. The increase in attendance
overwhelmed restaurants in town several of which were closed while the owners
attended to personal business. We are glad to report that at least five restaurants
that were closed during last year's Ski Festival have committed to being open
during this year's event. There will be plenty of food available
during the Yellowstone Ski Festival this year!
Here is a list of restaurants that have committed
to being open so far:
Bullwinkle's Saloon & Restaurant
19 Madison Ave. 406-646-7974
Wild West Pizzeria
14 Madison Ave. 406-646-4400
Wolf Pack Brewing Co.
Canyon St. 406-646-7225
TJ's Bettola at the Airport
Uncle Laurie's Riverside CafÃ©
Oregon Short Line – Holiday Inn
315 Yellowstone 406-646-7365
The Canyon Street Grill
22 N. Canyon
Three Bear Lodge
217 Yellowstone 406-646-7353
111 N. Canyon St. 406-646-0227
Trapper's Family Restaurant
301 Madison Ave. 406-646-9375
What's new for the 2005 Yellowstone Ski Festival?
Here's a start:
Kid's Recreation Program: We are again expanding our offerings for children.
In addition to the clinics run by the Montana Outdoor Science School that
were added last year, we are working with the Recreation Coordinator for the
Town of West Yellowstone to create even more kid friendly options. The details
haven't been worked out yet but it is safe to say that there will be some
type of daily recreation program available during the Ski Festival. As soon
as we work out the details, we will post the information on our website: www.yellowstoneskifestival.com
Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot: We envision this as a fun run – even more exercise
to help work up an appetite before Thanksgiving Dinner! Imagining Yellowstone
Avenue full of Nordic skiers makes us smile, too. Again details will be posted
on the event website as they become available.
100 Meter World Record Attempt: This event will be sponsored by the USSA and will
be open to a very limited number of qualified participants. The location will
be great for spectators, though. We plan to hold this event early on Wednesday
afternoon just to the west of the Gear Demo area. We will do our best to find
a time that is convenient for ski teams, clinic participants and the general
There are a few other fun and new events in the
works (yoga classes, three person ski races, obstacle course relay races)
and more information will be available at www.yellowstoneskifestival.com
when the details are more firm.
It may still be summertime and you're probably
thinking about swimming or trail running or cycling – but it's not too early
to start thinking about the 2005 Yellowstone Ski Festival. It's a great place
to start the season, learn new techniques, refine your skills and become a
better skier. It's a great place to shop for your next pair of skis. It's
a great place to watch expert skiers in action. And it's a great place to
spend Thanksgiving. Make your plans now!