West Yellowstone, MT is a winter playground. The storm that slammed it and the whole region over the weekend can only be characterized as diabolical.
It's not easy traversing Montana's landscapes in the winter time. Driving from Missoula to West Yellowstone and back was a monumental task in itself. The whole region got feet-deep dumps of snow over the weekend with West Yellowstone higher still. In a town that commutes on snowmobiles and snowcoaches, it felt like the inside of the snowglobes displayed in its shop windows.
The scary weather was worth it though, as having multiple feet of fresh powder in a famous and well-travelled area is a rare treat. We rode the South Plateau Trail into Targhee National Forest, carving a path for those who followed. The sleds were impressive and certainly made us better riders compared to the the touring sleds I've ridden before. The feeling of gliding through waves of powder without worry is like nothing I have experienced before. No machine has ever made me more confident in a snowy wilderness.
From South Plateau we rode the powerline trail up to the Two Top Loop and on towards the peak of the mountain. As we reached higher altitude we were inside the beginning of the next wave of the storm. In a flash, we could not see beyond three feet of ourselves, following only faint taillights and the occasional trail marker. As powering up a mountain with a machine has a restorative effect for confidence, the awe-striking force of nature restores a sense of humility and gratitude for life and warmth.