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Cross-Country Skiing in Yellowstone National Park with VBT

Cross-country skier on Old Faithful Trail.
With four departures throughout January and February of 2014, there are plenty of chances to take this one- of-a-kind winter vacation—Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Park—to one of the most spectacular geological regions on earth.

 Image Courtesy of the US Forest Service

Image Courtesy of the US Forest Service

On this vacation, recently featured in the Travel section of the LA Times, travelers can experience Yellowstone’s snow-covered splendor in the hush of winter. Few wilderness experiences match it and this winter wonderland is perfect for exploration by cross-country ski.  Although a few brave souls began visiting the park in the winter in the late 1800’s, it wasn’t until 1948 that and wingless “snow planes” on skis—think  winter versions of air boats found in the Everglades—first brought groups of travelers into  the park. Eventually the snow planes gave way to the snow coaches of today and by 1971 the Park Service began packing down and smoothing the winter routes to Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs.

Picture10If you’ve never been to Yellowstone—or even if you just visited in the summer—you’ll love the solitude a winter trip to the park offers in stark contrast to the busier summer season. With VBT you’ll spend your days skiing along the spectacular Yellowstone River to Tower Falls and take in enthralling winter viewings of some of the park’s different geothermal features with visits to the Geyser Basin and the Paint Pots.  Geysers such as Old Faithful and Lone Star shine even more so in the winter, as the combination of colder temperatures, ice and snow, coupled with hot water and steam, offer the very best viewing.   At night you can relax by the fire or take a rejuvenating soak in the hot tub after a hearty meal of Bison short ribs or wild Alaskan salmon at comfortable, amenity-filled Park lodges.

You’re also in for a special treat on the final full day of the 6-day vacation as you’ll go on a Buffalo wintering in the Upper Geyser Basin.  Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.sunrise visit to the Lamar Valley, known locally as the “American Serengeti”, which hosts a vast range of wildlife including wolves, elk, bison, antelope and bighorn sheep—fortunately, there won’t be any worrisome bear encounters thanks to hibernation! And the snow-covered winter landscape makes spotting wildlife much easier.

We hope to see you out on the trails with us in some of the world’s most fascinating winter destinations. Remember, on a VBT vacation you’ll enjoy world-class cross-country skiing combined with local Trip Leaders, comfortable accommodations and plenty of wonderful interactions with the locals. For more information on the Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Park ​vacation you can visit us online at www.vbt.com or request a catalog here.

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Step in to the Wyoming Wilderness in Style at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park

OFI an Old Faithful

One of the oft-overlooked aspects of an active vacation is the experience you’ll have off the road, walking path or ski trail. At the end of an adventure filled day we want our guests to slip in to the lap of luxury. A delicious meal, a few laughs with some new friends over a drink, a toasty fire to unwind near and an inviting, comfortable bed to rest up for the next day’s experiences. One of our favorite accommodations is featured on our new Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Walking America’s Wilderness vacation and where guests will stay on their last night, the iconic Old Faithful Inn.

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Construction
The Old Faithful Inn is a rustic-style lodge, with a log and wood shingle exterior in close proximity to the world famous 736px-OldFaithfulInnLobby1904FJHaynesOld Faithful Geyser in the heart of Yellowstone National Park.  Initial construction on the Inn began in the fall of 1903 to replace the Upper Geyser Basin Hotel which had burned down. Robert Reamer, a 29 year old architect known for designing train depots, was hired to design the new lodge.  Reamer’s enormous vision was inspired by the rustic camps of the Adirondacks, just on a much grander scale, as the seven-story log and frame lobby is quite unique in American architecture.  Most of the building materials used, including lodge pole pine and rhyolite stone, were found within a 5 mile radius of the Inn and a temporary sawmill was built to assist in the log preparation. When the Old Faithful Inn first opened in the spring of 1904, it boasted electric lights and steam heat. 

Famous Features
The Old Faithful Inn, a designated National Historic Landmark, is one of the few remaining log hotels in the United States and is the largest of its kind in the world. The Inn is a masterpiece of rustic architecture with its unique design and fine craftsmanship and has even hosted six presidents and all Three Stooges. Its influence on American architecture, particularly park architecture, was immeasurable due to the use of natural materials to create a feeling of high-style Old Faithful Inn Lobby.rusticity. In fact, in 2007 the American Institute of Architects conducted a survey to determine the 150 favorite buildings in America and the Old Faithful Inn ranked 36. Recently the Inn was featured on Travel + Leisure’s list of Great National Park Lodges.

Of course the most famous “feature” of the inn is its location within Yellowstone National Park.  At a mere eighth of a mile from the most famous geyser in the world, guests can use the viewing platform on the porch’s roof to see Old Faithful’s eruptions , while the front of the Inn faces Geyser Hill across the Firehole River. But let’s get back to the Inn itself. The century-old heart of the inn, known as the “Old House,” features a cavernous 7-story lobby with a handmade copper, wood and wrought iron clock and an 85-foot stone fireplace in the center -classic examples of the “Golden Age” of rustic resort architecture. Guests can stand in the middle of the lobby and look up at the exposed structure, or climb up a gnarled log staircase to one of the balconies and look up, down, or across. Visitors could even climb up to the roof via the staircases before the 1959 earthquake damaged the hotel. In the lobby, you’ll enjoy relaxing by the magnificent fireplace or take in the sunset on one of the giant porches with spectacular views

Old Faithful Inn exterior.

Modern Day
Despite its 109 year history, the Old Faithful Inn features many modern amenities complimenting its rustic charm, making it an attractive place to stay and not simply visit. It remains the most requested hotel in all of Yellowstone Park and the east and west wings where the rooms are, built in the 1920’s, have been remodeled in recent years. The Old_Faithful_Inn_interior_wideGeyserside premium rooms look out on the geyser basin, and include one or two queen beds.  There is also a full service dining room as well as the Bear Pit Lounge, where guests can enjoy appetizers and drinks while discussing the day with friends. A deli, gift store and interpretive tours are also available at the Inn.

We are very excited to share this new Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Walking America’s Wilderness vacation with you. We hope learning a bit more about this gorgeous lodge piques your interest and you know that while you’ll spend your days in the vast Wyoming wilderness, you’ll have wonderful accommodations waiting for you at days end, as with all VBT vacations. To learn more about this vacation please visit the tour page on our website.

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