With less than two weeks to go until the start of the West Yellowstone Ski Festival, snow conditions appear promising.
According to Director Sara Hoovler, the Montana town received roughly three inches of snow on Monday into Tuesday. While the trails hadn’t been groomed as of Tuesday morning, Hoovler said that they will probably be rolled within the next couple of days—especially given that additional snow is forecast for the area.
“It’s a classic West Yellowstone storm, where it seems to snow all day with no real gain until you look back, and two days later, you’ve got another two inches,” she said.
Hoovler said that organizers in West Yellowstone spent a lot of time over the summer working on the town’s trails, and that four inches of snow is all that’s necessary to make them ski-able.
And with seven inches falling on the South Plateau—the backup area for skiing if there’s insufficient coverage in town—Hoovler said that she is “optimistic.”
“We’re looking better than we have in the last few years,” she said. “Barring any crazy heat wave…I think we’re looking good.”
Indeed, the National Weather Service forecast for West Yellowstone shows a chance of snow every day for the next week, with temperatures not predicted to edge above 35 degrees.
Hoovler said that she is expecting some 3,000 skiers to show up for this year’s festival, which runs from November 23 to November 27. Sales of pre-paid passes are above where they were last year, she added.
Most of the country’s top athletes will converge on West Yellowstone for the season’s first SuperTour competitions, which include two sprint time trials, a distance freestyle race, and a distance classic race. Clubs in attendance will include Alaska Pacific University, Sun Valley’s Olympic Development Team, and Central Cross-Country (CXC).
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.