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Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

Ponce Inlet, Florida
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Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

Just getting started planning our Feb 1-8, 2014 trip. I have very small window to take vaca during that time so I need to start planning early. I was tentatively planning on the following: 2 days YNP guided tour, 2 days renting machines on our own, 2 days skiing (Jackson Hole?). Yes, we work hard, play harder and are not ones to rest on our laurels. A few questions: Is Jackson a good base camp (on a side note - we like good pubs/bars)? Best vendor to choose from for YNP guided tour? Best rental company out of the Jackson area? I am seeing that it looks like the trails start pretty far outside of town? Should we rent somewhere else? The Rustic Inn looks darling. I am looking for a "neat" place to stay with a western feel. Is this a good option? Lots of questions! Thank you in advance for your assistance!

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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1. Re: Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

It sounds like you have your mind set on what you want to do, but many people enjoy taking a snowcoach in to Old Faithful, spending several nights there and snowcoaching back out. You can do snowmobile tours from Old Faithful but you can also see the geyser basin areas on foot, snowshoes or XC skis. I think the people that enjoyed this the most last winter spent at least 3 nights at Old Faithful, giving you at least 2 full days, one for snowmobiling and one for geyser basin viewing.

Pam

K S
Auburn, California
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2. Re: Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

Assuming you already know that you must be part of an approved vendor tour group or hire an approved guide to ride snowmobiles inside YNP. DObby makes a great suggestion, and it's a trip my DH & I have done twice.

yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/trail-of-t…

We added on a couple of days at the Snow Lodge & they do rent xc ski equipment there or you could bring your own in with you.

Moose, Wyoming
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for Wyoming, Jackson, Jackson Hole
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3. Re: Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

>2 days renting machines on our own

You can't drive unguided into Yellowstone, so I suggest renting machines at Togwotee Lodge. There are hundreds of miles of well-signed groomed trails starting from there (they give you a map), so you should have a lot of fun. Btw, 2 full days on a snow machine is a LOT of snowmobiling if you're not used to it.

>2 days skiing (Jackson Hole?)

Sure. Best skiing is at Jackson Hole Mtn Resort. You can stay at Teton Village (base of the mountain) or in Jackson, where there's public bus service to Teton Village.

>we like good pubs/bars)

Welcome to Wyoming, where state law requires every town to have at least 2 saloons. There are lots in Jackson. My favorite watering hole is the Silver Dollar saloon in the Wort Hotel.

>The Rustic Inn looks darling. I am looking for a "neat" place to stay with a western feel

Rustic Inn is a beautiful property, although the cabins are cheek to jowl. For a western feel, as an alternative check out the Wort Hotel, which is in the heart of Jackson, although pretty expensive.

Ponce Inlet, Florida
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4. Re: Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

Thanks for the suggestions. They are very helpful!

Chicago's North...
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5. Re: Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

my take:

if you plan on mostly skiing, then jackson is pretty much your only option to base your snowmobiling adventures.... but personally, i think from a pure snowmobiling perspective, west y-stone is a MUCH better option.... that said, if you want the best of both worlds, then i'm afraid jackson is your only viable option, unless you're ok with driving 3+ hours to w y-stone...in winter mountain driving conditions....

if you plan to sled out of jackson (actually not possible since there are NO snowmobile trails leading out of town---what a shame), i recommend jackson hole adventure rentals.... we rented from them twice in recent years---see my review.... you will have to arrange transport to the trailheads down in alpine (40 miles south of jackson), or north to slide lake..... this is assuming you plan to ride outside YNP... IF you plan to ride inside YNP, then you must go with a tour operator---all YNP riding must be guided on approved machines.... so you'll have to go with outfitters at the togwotee lodge or possibly flagg ranch, both of which are an hour or more (in good weather) north of town.... IMO, a huge waste of time....

so, this is why west y-stone is the MUCH better option.... all outfitters, lodging, gas, eats, entertainment are located right in town---and the town is sled-friendly, which means you can ride around town and leave your car parked for the duration of your sled trip.... the YNP tours start right in town---no long drives (wasted time) to get to the trail heads... and there's great trail riding outside the park..... not to mention, sled rentals and tours (and lodging) are significantly cheaper than jackson.... if you go this route, i recommend two top snowmobile rentals---we used them several years ago and were very satisfied with them.... if you still wanna ski, you could fly into BZN and ski at big sky, which is only an hour or so from town.....

so, IMO, if sledding is your primary purpose for this trip (as your OP title implies), make west y-stone your base for sledding.... hit big sky for a day or 2 on your way down from BZN if you wanna ski.... then, ride in YNP one day or 2 days and get comfortable riding the machines (if you've never ridden before)..... then rent regular sleds and do your own thing on the trail system just outside the park the rest of the time... unless you have experience, i recommend getting trail sleds and riding the trails---i don't recommend mountain sleds for novice riders, unless you go on a guided trip....

one more tip: don't, i repeat, don't rent double machines!!!! it will cost more $$, BUT you will have a much better riding experience riding your own machines!!

Ponce Inlet, Florida
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6. Re: Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

Excellent suggestions Strange Tripper. Yes, we are both experienced riders and don't do we'll "sharing!" LOL. Sounds like we might split up the trip and do the first leg in WY. My husband is dying to ride powder - so it sounds like that area would be better. I appreciate all of the detail!

Chicago's North...
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7. Re: Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

ok, in that case, go for the mountain sleds.... but, don't go with the 4 strokes! too heavy and top heavy---they don't handle well for regular riders like us.... but, we were REALLY happy with the polaris RMK 600's---more than enough power, yet decent handling, even for a mtn sled.... wish we didn't go with the 4 strokes the 2nd time---oh well, live and learn......

if you sled the jackson area, we did the grey's river valley, near alpine, then the following year, we rode north out of slide lake and up to togwotee.... both times we went thru jackson hole adventure rentals..... both areas offer great riding, but togwotee/gros ventre mountains offered more wildlife viewing (mainly moose)... note-both of these areas are NOT in yellowstone NP. each trip was self-guided, but there are outfitters out there that will guide you to the back country.... we much prefer to self guide, but we also have many miles of riding experience (i've got about 15-16K miles, mostly on midwest/ontario trails)...

IMO, if you have the time, and the weather cooperates, then it might be worthwhile to split your time and do your yellowstone tour(s) thru west yellowstone..... also, the outside-the-park trail system out of west y-stone is great, and there are plenty of off trail play areas... however, we've found the idaho trail system sucks in the grooming dept----both near west y-stone and alpine.....so stay in WY and MT if you can.... we did the west y-stone trip 6-7 years ago and rented 550 trail sleds.... they worked fine, even in the powder, but i'm not sure i would take them it the really deep stuff.....

doing the parks tours are about safari riding, NOT speed or off trail riding. so keep that in mind. i've talked to guys and they said y-stone sucked cuz they couldn't do their own thing... but like i said, riding in YNP is about the wildlife and enjoying the beauty.....

happy trails!!

Edited: 5:22 pm, June 17, 2013
8. Re: Snowmobiling Yellowstone area Feb '14 Questions

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