Discovering the Heart of Yellowstone in Winter with the Yellowstone Association Institute
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Sept. 28, 2016 – Very soon, the 2.2 million acres that comprise the world’s first national park will be covered in snow, and a new season of travel to Yellowstone National Park will begin. The dedicated, enthusiastic Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI) instructors who take visitors deep into the park’s winter wonderland can hardly wait.
“Yellowstone’s survival-focused wildlife, incredible thermal features, and stunning, snow-covered landscapes are best appreciated in the company of an instructor who will take you to the heart of the park and tell you about what you’re seeing,” says Wendie Carr, director of marketing and communications for the non-profit group. “Yellowstone Association Institute programs are fundamentally an adventure of discovery, and every day has the potential to reveal moments of wonder that will be remembered for a lifetime.”
YAI offers a variety of winter season programs, including three Lodging & Learning programs and a new “Winter Wolf Expedition” program in the park’s northern range. Based at Old Faithful Snow Lodge—the only in-park lodge open this winter due to renovation of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel—Lodging & Learning programs are in partnership with lodging operator Yellowstone National Park Lodges. They include accommodations, some meals, and daily field trips into the park.
All four programs offer departure dates throughout December, January, and February.
Lodging & Learning
Yellowstone on Skis, Old Faithful Winter Expedition, and Winter in Wonderland include daily educational programming and are led by a Yellowstone Association Institute instructor; four or five nights in a premium room at Old Faithful Snow Lodge; all in-park transportation; daily breakfasts and lunches, and one dinner; use of snowshoe equipment; use of spotting scopes and binoculars; and hot beverages and snacks on the road. Rates range from $1,815 per person based on double occupancy for the Old Faithful Winter Expedition, to $2,525 per person including ski rentals for Yellowstone on Skis. Yellowstone Association members receive a $15 discount on all programs, and household memberships begin at just $35 per year. Complete pricing information, itinerary details, packing lists, and departure dates are available online.
Winter Wolf Expedition
Due to the winter closure of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, YAI is offering the four-night Winter Wolf Expedition that includes educational programming and instruction by YAI; in-park transportation; snowshoe equipment; use of spotting scopes and binoculars; two breakfasts, three lunches and one dinner; and hot beverages and snacks on the road. YAI’s preferred lodging partner for this program is the Best Western in Gardiner, Montana. Accommodations are available for an additional fee. The Winter Wolf Expedition is designed to pair perfectly with the Old Faithful Winter Expedition and Winter in Wonderland programs. The Winter Wolf Expedition is priced at $595 per person based on double occupancy. YAI members receive $15 off the rate.
Recommended Fitness Levels
Each program is rated for the recommended fitness level, so participants can determine the right program for their interests and physical skills. The Yellowstone on Skis program, for example, is rated for brisk aerobic skiing of up to eight miles and 1,000-foot climbs per day, while the Old Faithful Winter Expedition is rated for hikes on snow-packed trails or easy snowshoe trips up to three miles and 250-foot climbs per day.
In the unpredictable world of Yellowstone in winter, every day is guaranteed to include surprises. The Old Faithful Winter Expedition, for example, dedicates one day to exploring geyser basins and wild rivers, one day to discovering the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and a day of deeper exploration with a focus on visiting thermal basins, snowshoeing excursions, and wildlife watching. The Yellowstone on Skis program includes four full days of skiing, starting with a warm-up ski day around the Old Faithful area and capped off by a full day of skiing the Lonestar Geyser or Spring Creek trail.
Other YAI Programs
YAI’s other winter-season programs include Private Tours for groups of up to 28 participants, and Field Seminars such as Snow Tracking, Living History of Yellowstone’s Wolves and The Artistic Journal in Yellowstone.
A complete winter 2016/2017 catalog is available online. Reservations can be made by calling 406.848.2400. For more information about any Institute program visit YellowstoneAssociation.org or FaceBook.com/YellowstoneAssociation.
The Yellowstone Association is a membership-based organization. For information about becoming a member visit YellowstoneAssociation.org/Membership. For more information about any Institute program visit YellowstoneAssociation.org/experience or FaceBook.com/YellowstoneAssociation.
Founded in 1933, the Yellowstone Association is the park’s nonprofit educational partner and has provided over $65 million in aid to Yellowstone National Park since its inception. The Association is the National Park Service’s primary partner in providing educational programs, exhibits, and publications for park visitors. Operations include 12 educational Park Stores with gross sales of $4.5 million, the YA Institute which offers nearly 600 in-depth courses each year, and a membership program with over 41,000 members. Revenue from sales and memberships allow the Association to make an annual cash donation to the National Park Service for education and research in Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone Park Foundation and Yellowstone Association announced their intention to merge in October 2015, and the two organizations have been operating jointly since March 2016. The merger is expected to close by October 2016.
To learn more, please visit YellowstoneAssociation.org.