Love and Madness: West Yellowstone

Norris making good use of the kitchen

Some years we wonder why so many elite racers, not to mention masters and juniors, gather at this tiny town on the edge of the largest national park in the 48 states. Aside from skiing, there is not much to do. Lodging is hard to come by; most stores are boarded up for the winter already; there are few decent restaurants; the trails don’t have much terrain and require a two kilometer ski just to get to the stadium; and many years there is not even enough snow to hold the races on the main trail system–overall it’s just kind of strange. But when it snows as it has snowed the last twenty four hours, none of us remember these idiosyncrasies.

I woke up this morning on the second story and saw wind billowing across the window. The forecast had called for 12-18 inches, and I figured we had got a big proportion of that already. From downstairs I heard the door open and shut, and then thirty seconds later it opened and shut again. “Tyler, what are you doing?” I heard Rosie call. Tyler responded–and I could imagine his sheepish grin from my upstairs bedroom as I think anybody who knows him could have as he said this–“I’m waiting for the neighbors’ van to get out of their driveway so I don’t have to help them.”

Of course there was a due uproar in the kitchen where the conversation took place, but I was just happy to hear that there was enough snow.

Eric Packer freeing the two-wheel drivers

Eric Packer freeing the two-wheel drivers

We managed to get the cars free and got to the venue at a leisurely 10:30 so that the other skiers could pack down the snow for us. We tested a few of our skis, did a couple hot laps, and practiced starts for the sprint.

Packer and Thomas skiing back to the vans

Packer and Thomas skiing back to the vans

In the afternoon we did a jog and some strength in the one gym in town. Athletes from at least three teams piled into the weight room like a clown car. Also Erik’s kids were there so it was a clown car.

And here are a couple pictures to show you how ski-crazy this town is:

Bathroom at the ski venue

Bathroom at the ski venue

One of the course workers thought of a nice way to carry his skis to the venue.

One of the course workers thought of a nice way to carry his skis to the venue.

Also we are a little bit crazy:

Norris making good use of the kitchen

Norris making good use of the kitchen

Tyler sleeps next to his skis so that they bring him good nordic dreams

Tyler sleeps next to his skis so that they bring him good nordic dreams