Bozeman, MT: The Perfect Pre-trip Extension for VBT’s Yellowstone Ski Vacation

Did you know that on most VBT vacations there is an optional pre- or post-trip extension meant to ease you into your vacation and help you explore a city that won’t necessarily be on your tour? If you are traveling on—or thinking about reserving a spot on—our Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Parkthis winter we want to suggest adding the Pre-trip extension to the wonderfully western city of Bozeman, MT. Spending a couple days in Bozeman is the perfect way to acclimate to the elevation change before you head to Yellowstone, which is over a mile above sea level.


Bozeman is a great, little city in Big Sky country located in the middle of a gorgeous valley surrounded by the peaks of the Bridger, Gallatin and Madison mountain ranges. Perhaps best known as the home of Montana State University, Bozeman also offers fantastic shopping along main street, great restaurants—we’re a fan of Montana Ale Works, a retro-industrial railroad freight house that was transformed into a restaurant & bar—museums and access to some of the world’s best downhill skiing (both Bridger Bowl and Big Sky are within an hour).

800px-Museum_of_the_RockiesSince you’ll be leaving for Yellowstone right after your stay in Bozeman, we wanted to tell you about a great exhibit running through January at the Museum of the Rockies called “Welcome to Yellowstone: Tourism in America’s First National Park”. This fascinating exhibit features artifacts, photographs and movie footage from the National Park Service and other historical collections. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the fabulous planetarium and the museum’s most well-known collection: dinosaur fossils. In fact the Museum of the Rockies houses the most Tyrannosaurus Rex specimens anywhere in the world!

During your 2-day pre-trip extension you’ll be staying at the Lehrkind Mansion Bed and Breakfast, which provides a Lehrkind Exteriorcomfortable base from which to explore the Bozeman area. Located within walking distance of Bozeman’s historic Main Street, the Lehrkind Mansion is well situated in a quiet neighborhood. The Lehrkind, originally built in 1897 as the home of Bozeman Lager Beer master-brewer Julius Lehrkind, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Legend has it that each brick in the home was cured in large vats of beer before being set, making it “the house that beer built.” The home itself is a classic representation of Queen Anne Victorian architecture and one of Montana’s finest.

The current owners of the Lehrkind Mansion, Chris and Jon, turned the classic Victorian home into Bozeman’s finest bed and breakfast. Both owners are former Yellowstone National Park Rangers and are excellent resources for information as you prepare for your winter vacation in Yellowstone. For more information about the Bozeman Pre-trip extension, please visit our website.

Cross-Country Skiing in the Dolomites with VBT

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Welcome to the second post in a five-part series about the amazing cross-country skiing vacations that VBT is offering this winter. Last week we discussed the well-groomed cross-country trails, village strolls, dogsledding, and a delectable fondue dinner found on our Slovenia, Italy & Austria: Cross-Country Skiing the Alps vacation. If you tuned in before, be sure to check out the answer to last week’s trivia question at the end of this blog. But first let’s discuss our Italy: Cross-Country Skiing the Dolomites vacation. With four departures throughout January and February of 2014, there are plenty of chances to take this one- of-a-kind winter ski tour.

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Located in northeast Italy, the Dolomites not only are an immense mountain range, but a region where residents transition fluidly from Italian to German due to its proximity to Austria.  Here, many locals spend their winters traveling by way of their skis. Because of this, the routes on our VBT vacations are well-marked by inviting alms—trailside restaurants that serve everything from light refreshments to full meals—where we’ll kick back, warm up and enjoy rubbing elbows with local skiers.

SleddingOn a VBT vacation we spend some quality time on the trails as well as off. On this ski tour we spend a day in the South Tyrol region, where we’ll ski and sled in the town of San Candido. After a morning ski along the Dobbiaco trails we’ll take the Haunold chairlift to the top of the mountain. After lunch, you may choose to rent a sled and cruise the 3km downhill back to the valley or simply return to San Candido via chairlift. Either way you’ll be in for some amazing views from the high vantage point on the mountain.

One of our favorite skis of the trip is the day we head to Passo Lavaze, a well-known landmark for cross-country ski Trip Leaderslovers. The Lavaze Cross-Country Skiing Centre is located on a plateau between Trentino and South Tyrol, with over 50 miles of trails perfect for skilled skiers and beginners alike. The trails wind through the plateau’s beautiful woods, as well as the spectacular mountains of the Latemar chain.

800px-Strudel_piecesWe also want to mention the delicious Alpine cuisine you’ll be enjoying as all VBT vacations include many meals. Enjoy local dishes like strudel and speck —a cured, smoked ham native to the Alto Adige region. We’ll even learn to make the former while staying at The Hotel Maria, a family- owned lodging with a magnificent view amidst the timeless beauty of the Val di Fiemme. Here, we’ll have a strudel cooking class with award-winning hotel chef, Monica Braito.

beersWe 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 impeccable cross-country trails combined with local Trip Leaders, comfortable accommodations and plenty of wonderful interactions with the locals. For more information on the Italy: Cross-Country Skiing the Dolomites vacation you can visit us online at or request a catalog here. See you next week as the series continues with a blog about our Yellowstone in theWinter: Skiing America’s First National Park ​​vacation!

TRIVIA: The first person to answer the following question correctly in the comments section below will win a “VBT Ski Pack” complete with a VBT winter hat, ski ties & poster – Good luck!

                How often, on average, does Old Faithful erupt?
The answer to last week’s trivia question is Bombardino— a drink made by mixing 1/2 Advocaat (or eggnog) and 1/2 Brandy. It is served hot, with whipped cream on top. Congrats to Cheri W for winning the VBT Ski Prize pack!