Yellowstone National Park - Winter Edition
Skiing Blacktail Plateau
When we ski, we usually go to Blacktail Plateau. It’s only a one way, so out and back or if you carpool you can go just one way, but it is really beautiful. You have large views of the landscape from here and you can also spot herds of bison or elk along this route. In the summertime this road (Blacktail Plateau Drive) is also really pretty to drive, it’s one of many side roads you can drive in the park to get out of the tourist jam. The first time we skied there, W and I were deep in conversation and came around a corner to a herd of bison. We got so scared, and so did them. They ran off down the slope. A baby bison started to bluff charge us, luckily the older bison had no interest in us. Bison sometimes move fast across the landscape, browsing on what they can find underneath the snow, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out in what direction they are moving.
Through Valleys and over Hills
If you are lucky enough fresh snow and newly groomed trails will meet you when you arrive. But either way I love skiing here. You will get such a different view of the park if you go by skis. Not only of the wild animals, but also all the mountains and the deep forests in the distance. We almost never run into any people. Finding a parking spot can be hard depending on what end of the Blacktail Plateau Drive you start at. We have been pretty lucky so far and always managed to squeeze in somewhere. I love being able to ski in Yellowstone, you’ll get such an amazing feeling of freedom. And to top that off you will always see a bison or two munching away in the distance.
Northeast Yellowstone - A Place to Ski?
The exit at the northeast part of Yellowstone National Park is called the Silver Gate. It is right on the border between Montana and Wyoming. When you leave Yellowstone through this exit you’ll first drive through the mountains, and once you leave the park you can embark on the trip up in elevation, towards the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and the Beartooth Highway. The little town right outside the Silver Gate, Cook City, reminds me about the small towns you’ll see in the narrow valley along the Seward Highway towards Homer and all other places down in southeast Alaska. Obviously the Beartooth Highway is closed during the wintertime, because it sits high in elevation (10,947 ft). I have not explored the ski trails in northeast Yellowstone, and I would love to do that in the future. Northeast Yellowstone has these beautiful and large coniferous trees and draped by the mountains right next to the road, and just imagine skiing in there! That would be a dreamlike winter wonderland.
Have you been skiing in any of the National Parks in the world?