The resort also features an AMAZING gourmet restaurant that is easily my favorite meal in the state of Montana. Every meal I've had there has been finished with a flambéed orange. The orange is hallowed out, lined with chocolate, filled with orange zest ice cream and topped with meringue. When brought to your table the orange is doused in alcohol and lit to toast the meringue into gooey goodness. I've had it countless times and it's still impressive. And effing delicious.
Originally, this was the primary entrance to the park when trains were used to bring visitors to the park where they would enter in carriages. Today cars still enter under the arch when arriving via the northern park entrance.
After entering the park, we stayed at the Mammoth Lodge. Due to heavy snow in the winter, only two lodges are open to guests and only Mammoth - a few miles inside the north entrance - is reachable by car. The Winter Lodge at Old Faithful is also open, but is only accessible by tracked vehicles. The following pictures were taken in and around Mammoth.
Yellowstone in winter boldly contrasts from summer visits. The landscapes are often stark and cold, but lend themselves to truly appreciating the heat emitted from thermal features and simply the ground itself.
The remaining pictures were taken on excursions outside of Mammoth in both the Lamar Valley - an area for prime wildlife viewing - and on a trip to Norris Geyser Basin. Norris, while perhaps less known than the Old Faithful basin, is home to the world's largest geyser, Steamboat. Steamboat reaches a height of over 400 feet during eruption (nearly four times the height of Old Faithful), but is unfortunately very unpredictable with intervals between four days and fifty years. Steamboat's last eruption occurred in May of 2005.
A lone elk rests in the Lamar Valley, which - like the rest of the park - has significantly less snowfall than usual. Generally the area will be covered by several feet of snow by late December.
A snowcoach (a tracked vehicle) tour to Norris Geyser Basin took us through Swan Lake Flats and offered us glimpse of the Gallatin Mountains.
To the left, a view of the tracks left by snowcoaches. While the roads are groomed to make for a less bumpy ride, the majority of Yellowstone remains unplowed through the long winter months. On the right, a snowy trek into Norris Geyers Basin.
So how was your holiday season?