West Yellowstone Offers Stunning Views and Old West Charm with Ski Race and Snowmobile EXPO

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Winter activities that won't break the bank come to a head in March in West Yellowstone

Like a climber heading toward a mountain summit, West Yellowstone's winter season is about to reach its peak. With a ski race and snowmobile expo slated in March, West Yellowstone, the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, offers families and outdoor enthusiasts a rich value for their vacation dollar. The park is open through March 15 to over-the snow travelers who want to experience this winter wonderland by ski, snowcoach, snowmobile or snowshoe, all from one location.

"With an average annual snowfall of 143 inches, snow conditions just get better and better toward the end of the winter season," says Marysue Costello, director of the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce. "And, West Yellowstone's free or low-cost events, tours and outdoor pursuits help stretch vacation dollars, offering maximum bang for a visitor's buck. Check out our 'Sweetheart Specials' for discounts on lodging, restaurants, and tours during the month of February."

The Rendezvous Ski Race is coming up on March 7. With six different categories, the 30-year-old race offers something for everyone. The race is one of 11 that make up the American Ski Marathon Series: North America's longest-running and largest citizen's racing and touring series. The Youth Ski Festival takes place the same weekend. More information is available at http://www.rendezvousrace.com/.

"These races are a fun opportunity for younger skiers to get snared into this great sport," says Sara Hoovler, Program Director for the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation.

The nineteenth annual West Yellowstone World Snowmobile EXPO, the largest snowmobile show in the western United States, will be held March 13 - 15, 2009. The EXPO has grown and for the first time will feature ATV Snow and Toughman Enduro Races, in which a team of three will share a sled as they race laps around the snowcross course. Returning favorite events include Snow Drag races, aerial antics in the Freestyle Aerial Competition and a vintage snowmobile display. More information is available at http://www.snowmobileexpo.com.

"Racers will compete for national attention in the SnoWest SnoCross races," says Costello. "This race has ignited the careers of racers like Blair Morgan, Tucker Hibbert and the Crapo brothers. And, many people don't know that West Yellowstone was the birthplace of high flying snowmobile aerials, dreamed up in the backyards of some of our young competitors."

West Yellowstone's trail network offers visitors a glimpse of pure western wilderness and access to Big Sky country, at little or no cost. Snowmobilers can explore over 200 miles of groomed snowmobile trails that connect to another 400 miles of trails in Island Park, Idaho. Cross country skiers can explore miles of groomed ski trails at Rendezvous, Riverside and the brand-new Boundary Ski areas, all within walking distance from just about anywhere in town. And, Harriman State Park's groomed cross country trails offer more inexpensive fun, just a short drive away. Big Sky Resort's downhill ski area, which sports the nation's longest combined vertical run, is world-class by anyone's standards, and is just a 45-mile drive from West Yellowstone.

West Yellowstone also provides kid-friendly and family-oriented winter activities, like the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, open 365 days a year with free admission for children ages five and younger. The center offers a comfortable environment where visitors can observe live grizzly bears, which are active all winter long, and wolves interacting with pack members. The new naturalist cabin, situated between two wolf viewing areas, features ceiling-to-floor windows that look out onto two different wolf packs. Next door, the IMAX Theater is open year round, showing nature films as well as a feature film about Yellowstone Park.

Follow the Painted Buffalo "Treasure Trail Map" to find buffalo statues that have been creatively painted by regional artists. Additionally, free, weekly ranger-led evening programs and snow shoe walks along the Madison River in Yellowstone offer a treat for the entire family. Snowshoes are widely available for rent in West Yellowstone.

To see a calendar of events in West Yellowstone, or for more information, visit http://www.destinationyellowstone.com. Search for West Yellowstone Chamber on Facebook and become friends to receive photographs, event information and updates.

West Yellowstone is just a few hours away, but a world apart. Getting there is easy: drive to West Yellowstone from Bozeman in two hours, Helena in just over three hours, Salt Lake City in less than five hours, and Boise in six hours. Transportation shuttles are available. For information on lodging, Yellowstone Ski Festival or World Snowmobile EXPO and other recreation, contact the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce at 406.646.7539. Exclusive specials are available online at http://www.destinationyellowstone.com/feb.

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