The Fall Ski Festival in West Yellowstone marks the end of anticipation season and the start of the long-awaited ski season! Boundless excitement and enthusiasm for the upcoming season is everywhere, and with plenty of new snow and the upcoming Olympics that enthusiasm is only heightened. The Fall Festival is also a great time to build community within specific ski clubs, and as a Nordic community as a whole. The festival is a wonderful and healthy way to spend Thanksgiving with family, friends, and other Nordic ski enthusiasts. We highly recommend a visit.
After tons of festivals both with and without kids, here are some suggestions.
Bring running shoes and snow boots
This year, bring running shoes and snow boots. As of November 12, we have 2 feet of snow, so boots will come in handy. Even with the snow, there are plenty of plowed, quiet roads for running. Nice slow runs can help get the lactic acid out of the legs, and using some other muscles and movements just feels good on the legs. In years past there have been Thanksgiving trots around town.
Diversions for kids
Diversions for the kids include the gravel pile (located just inside the Rendezvous Trail) which makes a fun sledding or ski hill for the kids, the sprint ski races at the biathalon loop, the various hotel pools, the Discovery Center, the Movie Theater, and the raffle night is always popular with the kids.
Diversions for adults include Freeheel & Wheel - Kelly and Melissa have created a wonderful Nordic hang-out, the bookstore, a new backcountry ski film night, and the various events, clinics and lectures that are scheduled through the week.
What's to eat?
Restaurant suggestions include Bullwinkle’s Saloon for American fare, and Sydney’s Mountain Bistro for fine dining with your sweetie. Both are popular, and the seating is limited, particularly at the Bistro, so get there early.
If you are eating with your kids, eat early. There are only a handful of restaurants open and you will avoid the crowds.
I should also mention the Gourmet Gas Station and the Corral Bar, which are located on Route 191 between Bozeman/Airport and West Yellowstone. Both offer good food on your way to or from West Yellowstone.
Bozeman has a variety of good restaurants, and with this early snow we should have good in-town skiing. Skiing venues in town include Lindley Park and Bridger Creek Golf Course. We also maintain a logging road just outside of town called Bozeman Creek. You can find grooming reports at bsfnordic.com. We groom and maintain these venues as a club (Bridger Ski Foundation), 100% of any donations go towards those efforts and they are welcomed.
Hit the ski shop in Bozeman
And if you’d like to visit a Nordic ski shop in between Bozeman and West Yellowstone, we invite you to stop by our shop, Nordic Ski Source, for a cup of coffee and say hello. We are located at 10180 Cottonwood Rd. in the white building with a red roof 5.2 miles south of Huffine Lane (Google Map of location). Turn south onto Cottonwood across from the Billion car dealership and follow Cottonwood to our building on the east side of the road. The store will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday the 27th. We will be in West Yellowstone on those days, so you can pick up a catalog and say hello. Our toll-free phone number is 1-866-918-1809, give us a call for directions or just to coordinate a visit.
As a final reminder, there is a SuperTour race following the ski festival in Bozeman. The plan is to have the sprint races in town, with the medal ceremony on Main Street during the Christmas Stroll that evening. Come join us for either week, or both if you can make it. It promises to be a fantastic way to kick-start your ski season!