Winter in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is a magical time – frost on the trees, snow on the mountain, warm fireplaces and hot cocoa… I’m getting anxious for the change in seasons, can you tell? As I’m writing this, the clouds have rolled in and the weatherman is calling for snow tonight!
Many people that I talk to in the summer ask what the town does in the winter – do the sidewalks roll up? Do the shops close down? How do we get around, with all the snow?Well, let me answer the last question first – a lot of folks don’t realize that here in Cody, Powell and Meeteetse, we actually don’t get a lot of snow that sticks around – the mountains to the west catch most of the moisture, and we’re left with very little that the wind doesn’t kick up and blow away! But that snow in the mountains makes for amazing recreation opportunities…
Like skiing! Sleeping Giant Ski Area re-opened a few years ago as a community ski hill, run by a local foundation whose goal is to get as many families and kids up there as possible! Check out their magic carpet for the lesser-skilled skiers on the hill (like me), or take the chair lift to the top of the mountain for great downhill runs. According to reports, the winter this year should bring us about as much snow as we had last year, so that means there will be fantastic skiing all winter long!
And let’s not neglect to mention cross-country skiing, as well – there are two fantastic trail systems in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country that are maintained throughout the winter. One is near Sleeping Giant, maintained and highly utilized by the Park County Nordic Ski Association, and the other is in the Wood River area outside of Meeteetse. And keep an eye out for wildlife while you’re skiing – you never know what kinds of critters might be enjoying the winter weather along with you!
The Yellowstone Quake thrills local audiences at the Riley Arena in Cody with exciting Junior-A Class hockey. The spectators have lots of chances to get involved with the action, as well – puck chucks for a chance to win half the pot; community groups doing giveaways during the games; special events; and the enjoyment of the game! Find their schedule at http://yellowstonequake.pointstreaksites.com/view/yellowstonequake.
The Riley Arena also offers folks the chance to do a little ice skating, as does Homesteader Park in Powell. During the winter, Homesteader Park fills their little ice rink with water and the locals have a ball. And at the Riley Arena, the local kids’ skate clubs will have performances to show off the talented youth on the ice!
If you’re up for an adventure, Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is THE best place in the lower 48 to go ice climbing! The South Fork of the Shoshone River has some incredible waterfalls that freeze during the winter and provide easy access to exciting ice climbing during the winter. In February, the annual Waterfall Ice Festival draws climbers from all over to climb, learn, and socialize with others who share their passion.
And if you’re more the stay-indoors type, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center is full of incredible interactive displays and fantastic exhibits that focus on different themes – natural history, firearms, western art and the Plains Indians (the Buffalo Bill wing of the Historical Center is closed until May so it can be completely re-done in time for next summer’s big season). And if you’re here over the holiday season, the BBHC hosts a community open house, featuring local entertainers and an opportunity to spend the day exploring the museums for free!
Until next time, I’ll be lovin’ winter in Buffalo Bill’s Country!
Corrie N. Cody