WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. — Every year teams from across the country descend upon the small town of West Yellowstone (pop. 1,271) for the Yellowstone Ski Festival. While the event is a time for team bonding, catching up with old racing buddies, and improving fitness and technique, it’s also a celebration of the nordic community.
People of West Yellowstone gives insight into the people who make this yearly event truly special, whether they are nationally acclaimed athletes or employees at our favorite local businesses.
Todd Schmidt, U.S. Forest Service
FasterSkier: What is it like working at the Yellowstone Ski Festival?
Todd Schmidt: So far it’s been great. I’ve only had a few people feed me some lines this morning. Most people are happy to show [their pass] because they paid for it.
FS: Have you had to turn anyone away this morning?
TS: I have asked a few people to stop, but I haven’t turned anyone back yet today. I had several people tell me that they left their pass in their hotel. As a very nice person, today I’m letting that fly.
FS: What do you think of the festival?
TS: It’s a great thing! It brings in a ton of people to this town when nothing else is really going on.
Rachel Spence, Freeheel and Wheel
FS: Having been here for ten years, what does the Yellowstone Ski Festival mean to you?
Rachel Spence: It’s just something really positive for the whole town. Anything that can get people active and brings people to town. It’s our biggest week here at Free Heel and Wheel. It brings a positive energy having so many people come in and ski.
FS: Do you ski and have you been on the trails?
RS: I’m from New Mexico so I didn’t grow up nordic skiing. Since I moved here I started to nordic ski and it’s awesome. And yes, I was out recently. It was awesome.