YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Yellowstone National Park Lodges, operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts and the manager of lodging, restaurants and activities in Yellowstone National Park, and theYellowstone Association Institute will offer “Lodging & Learning” packages this winter in Yellowstone National Park.
The park’s winter season begins Dec. 18, 2009 with the opening of the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotelopens Dec. 21, 2009. The lodges provide the only wintertime accommodations within the park. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel will close for the season March 8, 2010, and Old Faithful Snow Lodge will close March 7, 2010.
The popular “Lodging & Learning” programs are collaborations between concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts and the non-profit Yellowstone Association Institute. Each program includes accommodations, some meals and Xanterra’s “Snow Card” good for 10 percent off meals, in-park transportation, tours, ski shop services and select retail items. Some Lodging & Learning package components vary based upon location. Rates quoted here are per person, double occupancy, plus tax and utility fee. Rates vary based on location, room type, number of people and applicable tax rates. Yellowstone Association members pay $10 less than the quoted rate.
The “Old Faithful Winter Expedition” features two nights at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and two nights at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Under the guidance of an Institute instructor, stops throughout the park will include the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone Lakeand various geyser basins. Available Saturday through Wednesday beginning Jan. 2, 2010 through Feb. 27, 2010, this program features four nights of lodging, breakfasts, lunches, welcome gift, in-park transportation for field trips, snowshoes, one-hour hot tub usage, unlimited ice skating and optional evening programs. Rates start at $971 per person for double occupancy and $1,198 for single occupancy.
The “Winter Wildlife Expedition” allows participants to observe and learn about bison, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, coyotes, wolves and other wildlife. Available Wednesday through Sunday Dec. 23, 2009 to March 3, 2010, this program features four nights of lodging at the Mammoth Hotel, breakfasts, lunches, welcome gift, in-park transportation for field trips, snowshoes, one-hour hot tub usage, unlimited ice skating and optional evening programs. Rates start at $604 per person for double occupancy and $770 for single occupancy.
“Yellowstone on Skis” features five days of cross-country skiing with daily trips to the Blacktail Plateau, LamarValley, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and the foot of the Gallatin Range. The program is led by a naturalist/guide from the YAI, and a professional cross-country skiing instructor will accompany the group on two days to help participants improve their skills. Offered Saturday through Thursday Dec. 26, 2009, Jan. 9, Jan. 23, Feb. 6 and Feb. 20, 2010, the package includes three nights of lodging at the Mammoth Hotel and two nights of lodging at the Snow Lodge, four breakfasts and four lunches per person, welcome gift, in-park transportation for field trips, one-hour hot tub usage, unlimited ice skating and optional evening programs. Rates start at $1,390 per person for double occupancy and $1,730 for single occupancy. Ski rentals are available but not included in any of the packages.
The “Winter Wolf Discovery” is offered Sunday through Thursday Dec. 27, 2009 to Feb. 28, 2010. Instructors provide expertise on the reintroduction of wolves to the park and lead wildlife viewing excursions through theLamar Valley. This four-night package includes accommodations at the Mammoth Hotel, breakfasts and lunches each day, welcome gift, in-park transportation, snowshoe rental, one-hour hot tub rental, unlimited ice skating and optional evening programs. Rates start at $635 per person for double occupancy and $801 for single occupancy.
“Winter in Wonderland” is designed as a comprehensive introduction to Yellowstone in winter. Guests receive four nights of lodging at the Mammoth Hotel and two nights at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Guests explore the park via snowcoach, skis and snowshoes and learn about wildlife in the Lamar Valley, geology in the Old Faithful region and more. In addition to instruction, transportation and lodging, the packages include welcome gift, five breakfasts and five lunches, in-field snacks, ski and snowshoe rentals, one-hour hot tub rental, unlimited ice skating and evening programs. This program runs Monday through Sunday, Dec. 21, 2009 through March 1, 2010. Rates start at $1,244 per person for double occupancy and $1,554 for single occupancy.
Xanterra also offers a variety of self-guided winter “Getaway Packages” as well as lodging and transportation options for those who want to explore the park on their own.
Except for the road from Gardiner, Mont. to Cooke City, Mont. via Mammoth Hot Springs, transportation within the park is limited to snowmobiles and enclosed heated snowcoaches during the winter. Snowcoach transportation is available daily to a variety of park locations. Xanterra also offers a variety of half- and full-day snowcoach, ski and snowshoe tour and ski and snowshoe rentals as well as expert instruction and other services.
Lodging & Learning programs can be booked by calling (1) 307-344-5566. Yellowstone Association members receive a $10 discount on all courses, and family memberships begin at just $30 per year. For detailed package information, go to www.YellowstoneAssociation.org.
Complete details about accommodations, restaurants and activities in Yellowstone can be made by calling (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free 866-GEYSERLAND (866-439-7375), or visiting the web site www.travelyellowstone.com.