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West Yellowstone Report: There Really is Snow!

Tue, Nov  23, 2004 - By Mike Muha

“I have achieved major soreness,” proclaimed Frank Nizio at dinner last night. Frank and Linda Allen have been skiing at West Yellowstone for the past four days, Frank doing almost fours hours of skiing a day.

Greg Worrel and I got in about 40 minutes of skiing late yesterday afternoon, just enough to get used to my skis. Surprise traveler Randy Kessler – I ran into him getting on the plane in Detroit – continued skiing for quite awhile longer and into the darkness, headlamp lit

Greg, Randy and I shared a van for the hour and a half drive from the airport in Bozeman to West Yellowstone. Two lane roads the entire way, the light traffic moved well. I could have sworn that we drove downhill the entire way but Greg and Randy assured me we were going up.

When we first drove to the Rendezvous Trail trail head, things looked bleak: there’s not much snow. We were assured there was skiable snow, that we just needed to ski in a bit. So we decide to ski there – it was going to get dark soon, there was no time to drive to the South Plateau were conditions were reported to be excellent, and we wanted to be on snow NOW.

If you’ve read the trail reports, you’ll know the snow is fast and slippery. The altitude, 6,200 feet, didn’t seem to bother me, but Randy was complaining a bit.

Many ski teams are here – there were car license plates from the east coast!  Everyone seems to be wearing matching racing suits or training jackets. I wished we’d been able to get our Team NordicSkiRacer suits printed in time!

We ran into a group of Grand Rapids Nordic folks – they’ve also been here since Friday.

So what in store for today? I’m meeting the guys for breakfast at 7:30, then we do indoor skating exercises and balance drills at 8:30, head out at 9:15 for on-snow skating exercises. At some point, we get to go to lunch.

At 2:00, it indoor classic drills and exercises followed by more of the same on snow at 2:30. Finally, after dinner and at 7:15, there’s a lecture (topic TBD on the official schedule).

The plan for the rest of the week is very similar: indoor and outdoor work both morning and afternoon, with lectures at night.

Of course, there are other activities for people not attending any of the camps: ski demos, waxing clinics, vendor nights at several bars or the local ski shop, a film one night. There’s also an indoor ski expo every evening.

I think the main struggle will be finding time to do everything and still getting enough rest to survive the clinics!