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Special Events at the Yellowstone Ski Festival

Mon, Nov  5, 2007 - By Jamie Greene

It’s Saturday night in West Yellowstone and the Yellowstone Ski Festival is less than three weeks away! I split the day between walking the ski trails with my dogs and watching 6 man football. The trails have been mowed, rolled and buffed out for the winter. One good snow storm and we’ll be skiing. We live for winter here in West Yellowstone and our winter begins with the Yellowstone Ski Festival. This year the dates for the Yellowstone Ski Festival are November 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24, 2007.

By now, most of you are familiar with the Yellowstone Ski Festival but for those of you that aren’t here’s a super abbreviated history: Back in the late 1970’s, the US Ski Team started to make annual trips to West Yellowstone and soon after that, Drew Barney and Dick Hunt started a series of Nordic ski clinics during the week of Thanksgiving. Eventually, the major ski manufacturers started to attend and allow the public to demo the latest in Nordic equipment. And five years ago, the SuperTour races were added to the mix. Today, this gathering of skiers is called the Yellowstone Ski Festival and the event includes skate and classic clinics for skiers of all levels, the Try It and Buy It Gear Demo, an Indoor Ski Show and the SuperTour races.

A couple of years ago at this time, Bruce Adelsman suggested that I write a story that detailed special events, places to eat, and things to do during the Ski Festival. The piece went over very well and I think that it helped folks plan their visit to West Yellowstone. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I would update last year’s article with information for this year’s event…

Special Events and Highlights


Murray Banks to speak Friday night: If you are coming to West Yellowstone for the Yellowstone Ski Festival, you either love to ski, want to go fast this winter, or both! Our featured speaker this year is Murray Banks and his presentation will inspire and challenge us to get the most out of our training and racing and still love it when we finally pack it in! Murray is a two-time masters skiing world champion, a triathlon national champion and has been one of the top finishers in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. And, like many of us, he struggles with balancing training time with the rest of his life and making sure his focus on performance doesn’t reduce his joy for skiing. His presentation will give us several tips for going fast while keeping it satisfying. Best of all, this presentation will be a blend of wonderful skiing stories, incredible humor and the inspiration we need to get our ski season off to a great start!

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot: This will be a free fun run at 3:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day. It will start at the Rendezvous Trailhead Building and wind through the streets of West Yellowstone – even more exercise to help work up an appetite before Thanksgiving Dinner! Imagining Yellowstone Avenue full of Nordic skiers makes us smile. Look for details at Freeheel and Wheel once you get to town.

Stone Grinding by Boulder Nordic Sport: Boulder Nordic Sport will be back in West Yellowstone with a full-service stone-grinding ski shop again this year. BNS will travel to the event with two Tazzari stone grinding machines (skis that are stone ground generally absorb more wax and perform better) and staff to provide professional ski service at the season-opening event.

Daily Yoga and Pilates Classes: Yoga is back! This year, Robin Mochi and Katie Holtzman will be conducting 6:30 AM classes at the Holiday Inn for $10. It’s a great way to warm up before a day of skiing. Body Dynamics will also offer a series of $10 Pilates classes at 12 noon at the Holiday Inn.

Free Heel and Wheel Celebrates another Year in Business: Melissa Alder and Kelli Sanders opened Free Heel and Wheel eleven years ago. Since then, West Yellowstone’s favorite Nordic ski and bike shop has become a regional favorite. Free Heel and Wheel, located at 40 Yellowstone Avenue, is Nordic ski headquarters for the Yellowstone Ski Festival. Need skis? Coffee? Boots? Lunch? Gloves? Clothing? They’ve got it all. Free Heel and Wheel is the place to be during the Ski Festival (if you can get in the door). Stop in and say hi to Melissa, Kelli, Rachel, Sara, Brenda and Thor!

An update to my restaurant reviews is coming up...