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West Yellowstone ski festival canceled due to lack of snow

The entrance sign for West Yellowstone.
Spend A Day Touring LLC
Flickr (CC BY SA2)
A sign near West Yellowstone, Montnana.

An annual West Yellowstone ski festival has been canceled for the first time in the event’s three decade history due to a lack of snow.

The Yellowstone Ski Festival can draw up to 4,000 people to the small town just outside the national park.

Melissa Alder, co-owner of the shop Freeheel & Wheel, said West Yellowstone is known for having the first groomed ski trails in the country, but the snow didn’t fall this year.

“We just couldn’t offer high quality — even any — groomed skiing that was going to hold up.”

The festival offers ski clinics, apres events, groomed skiing and races in Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Historic drought conditions have persisted in Montana, although the northwest part of the state has gotten more moisture in the last couple of months.

Meteorologist Bob Hoenisch with the National Weather Service says the forecast shows conditions will continue to be dry.

“Right now, we’re not seeing the weather pattern shifting in the next 7-10 days."

Long-term forecasts say a cold, snowy winter is coming. Hoenisch says there’s still plenty of time for those conditions to play out.

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.
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