West Yellowstone remains an early season magnet for training. In good snow years, the grooming is otherworldly. In thin times, the fact that several trails are seeded with grass and legendary Rendezvous Ski Trails groomer Doug Edgerton turns water into wine means even meager snow can seem dreamy. And yes, there’s always the higher altitude South Plateau Rd. which comes into play when the winter blanket in town is lacking.
From Nov. 26-30, the Yellowstone Ski Festival will offer skiers new to the sport and those sporting dated Lycra or the latest fashion trends an opportunity to ski, mingle, and learn.
A few Festival highlights are worth mentioning. Former U.S. Ski Team member Liz Stephen will speak the evening of Nov. 29. This woman is formidable. She remains the high-turnover motor of her past World Cup days. Her value to the community persists as she espouses principles that ensure those around her are taken care of: she’s the consummate teammate. Walk of fame worthy in the cross-country community? Indeed. Worth hearing speak? Unequivocally.
Science writer Christie Aschwanden, author of the book “Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn From the Strange Science of Recovery”, will speak on Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving. Aschwanden is known for her fastidious research. Her book is rife with nuggets dispelling what many believe are scientifically proven recovery methods.
Seriously, take a break from the cryotherapy on that Wednesday evening. Maybe shorten the foam rolling session: Aschwanden is the goods.
If you are looking for a one-stop, walk-to-the-trails ski vacation, where you can take a clinic, learn about waxing from Toko’s guru Ian Harvey, learn to shoot a biathlon rifle, test the early season fitness with a race, begin each morning with a yoga session, this could be your Thanksgiving destination.
Let’s circle back to note beginners are welcome. You’ll no doubt see plenty of carbon fiber poles, boots, and skis, and patch upon patch sublimated onto custom team clothing. It may look like an overly serious scene for something coined a festival. Remember, everybody was a beginner at some point – and West Yellowstone is the place to start.