The park is open for winter

Winter season begins in Yellowstone National Park
By: 
LIZ KEARNEY
Yellowstone Newspapers

Yellowstone National Park opened for its winter season Friday morning for motorized oversnow travel.
The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotels opens Friday, and the Old Faithful Snow Lodge opens Saturday, providing both overnight lodging and meals, according to a National Park Service news release.
The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel opens for its first winter with its recent public area remodel on display. The renovations included a new outer-door foyer, an enlarged gift shop/ski shop on the ground floor, and enlarged public space on the second floor for meetings, conferences and winter NPS interpretative programs. The renovation project was funded by the National Park Service on property that is managed by private park concessioner Xanterra Parks and Resorts.
The remodeling work also included a cleanup and restoration of the historic wooden wall map in the Map Room, as well as the addition of a beverage bar in the room, a Xanterra spokesman, Rick Hoeninghausen, said recently. While the NPS was responsible for the infrastructure work, the bar was installed by Xanterra.
The Map Room will now be more of a lounge, with additional seating and tables for games. Longtime Map Room piano player Randy Ingersoll will return for the winter season as well. The hotel was closed last winter while the construction was ongoing.
Winter reservations to date are “a little ahead” of this same period two years ago, Hoeninghausen said. Comparing reservations to last year would not be accurate since the hotel was closed, he added.
Most park roads are open for oversnow travel with the exception of Dunraven Pass between Tower and Canyon. The road from Mammoth to Cooke City is open to wheeled vehicles year-round.
Travel from Fishing Bridge to Lake Butte on the East Entrance Road is closed until more snow accumulates on that section of road, the release said, and travel over the East Entrance Road over Sylvan Pass to Lake Butte is scheduled to begin Dec. 22, depending on the weather.
Other services available in the park include 24-hour gas pumps at Old Faithful, Mammoth and Tower Junction; visitor centers at Mammoth and Old Faithful; warming huts at Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Indian Creek, Madison, Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, and West Thumb.
Some huts are staffed during business hours. Food, restrooms, and water are available at some huts, the release said.
Yellowstone’s winter weather is extremely unpredictable and road closures or delays can occur with little or no warning. Park officials suggest visitors carry personal emergency survival equipment and dress appropriately for outside activities in extremely cold weather.

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