Oh, have I.......................

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 18:54:31 01/27/15

In Reply to: BP, thanks... posted by Rob (Hiker)


My Yellowstone skiing dates back to the mid-1980s. I think it was 1986 when I first visited Old Faithful in winter. We were there for 3 or 4 days. We skied around the UGB, did Fairy Falls, the Spring Creek to Lone Star trail, and an exotic trip out to Sentinel Meadows, with an off-trail jaunt down Fairy Meadows to hook up with the winter trail near Imperial Geyser.

In 1989 and the early 1990s, I guided winter trips for the Colorado Mountain Club to Old Faithful. I had a standard "intro ski", which started in late morning (had to let the gang sleep in after an overnight bus trip to Flagg Ranch from Denver and a snowcoach ride in to Old Faithful). It went out to Daisy Geyser, then down the hill to Black Sand Basin, over to Biscuit Basin, and back to the UGB via Morning Glory Pool and Riverside Geyser. The second day was typically a snowcoach shuttle trip to the Fairy Falls trailhead (slowest skiers crammed into first coach, speediest skiers crammed into second coach). Then it was off to Fairy Falls, and back to the UGB on skis. The third day was always the "exotic day". Sometimes, it was out to the Fairy Falls t.h., with the extended jaunt up the Fountain Flat Freight Road to Ojo Caliente, then out to Sentinel Meadows, and back to the UGB via Fairy Meadows and Imperial Geyser. Sometimes, the third day would be up to the Divide Lookout (it was still standing in that era), then down the Spring Creek trail, and over to Lone Star Geyser, and back to the UGB. One particular year, we skied all the way from the original SnowLodge to Shoshone Geyser Basin and back over Grants Pass. It was somewhere around 23 or 24 miles, if I'm not mistaken. We were first in line for breakfast when the doors opened, then hit the trail. We watched the lights come on in the Old Faithful complex from the hill across the road, before zooming down the Howard Eaton trail.

After moving to Yellowstone country in 1997, I started skiing all over the north end of the park, including virtually all the established winter trails accessible via auto, and a number of off-trail extravaganzas. One of my North End faves is to take the skier shuttle snowcoach up to Indian Creek Campground, then ski back via the Sheepeater trail to the Bunsen Peak road, and down it to the Maintenance Garage; OR hang a left on Bunsen Peak Road and go south and west of Terrace Mountain, and down Snow Pass.

One great snow year, 2008 I think, five of us drove to Canyon in early May before the road through Hayden Valley opened. We skied a loop down toward Sour Creek and back up the Howard Eaton Trail. We saw some recent grizzly tracks out there. That always adds an air of excitement to the trek. We did pretty well on the way out to Sour Creek, but on the way back, with the sun high in the sky, and softening the snowpack, there was a lot of breaking through, which turned the effort into something of a slog. That's Yellowstone. There's always some new twist!


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