The anticipation of the season has occupied our time and thoughts for the last couple of months, allowing us to shrug off the cold without much effort. But with the bustle of the holidays winding down, we're about to face winter's harshest months.
It's easy to fall into a pattern of going to and from work or school and running errands on the weekends. It's cold. It's dark. And, as if we could forget, it's windy enough to make even the most ardent outdoors enthusiast throw in the towel.
Travel becomes more difficult as the snow blankets the prairie and the wind sweeps it across barren stretches of interstate. Trepidation of high speeds turning our ordinary vehicles into highway Zambonis often keeps us isolated.
But a seasonal getaway can be just the thing to pull us out of a monotonous routine and offer something new and exciting to look forward to. Visit the Wyoming Department of Transportation's website or download its free app to your smartphone for road conditions throughout the state -- and just take it slow. If you thought Wyoming was beautiful in the summer, wait until you see it in winter's icy embrace on one of these road trips.
Get your ski on in Jackson
Jackson has something for everyone. The area boasts world-class skiing and snowboarding for beginners to experts. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain and Grand Targhee Resort each offer a unique experience. Guided snowmobile and snowshoeing tours are available for those looking for some off-the-slopes action, while adventure-seekers can try paragliding or helicopter skiing.
Cost: A trip to Jackson can be tailored to most budgets. Depending on the length of your trip and the experience you're looking for, the price can range widely in price. Look for packages that include lodging and skiing, and ask about promotions or special rates before booking. Some websites offer discounted prices on things like lift tickets if you buy them online in advance.
Other things to do: Shopping, museums and galleries, nightlife, spas, wildlife viewing tours, sleigh rides through National Elk Refuge, scenic flight tours
Catch Yellowstone on the flip side
Winter puts on a show in the nation's first national park unlike any other. Snow softens the landscape. Steam from the park's many thermal features coats the branches of nearby trees and plants with delicate crystals. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are the favored modes of transportation for a unique backcountry experience.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel is undergoing renovations for the next two winter seasons, which means Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins offers the park's only winter accommodations this year and next, so make sure to plan your Yellowstone getaway early to secure a spot.
Cost: Cabins and rooms at Old Faithful Snow Lodge range from around $150 per night to around $350 per night. Park entrance fees and a snowcoach shuttle to and from the lodge will add to that expense, but the lodge offers packages that can save guests money. Check with park rangers on backcountry and snowmobile-use permits.
You have free articles remaining.
Other things to do: Guided snowcoach and snowmobile tours, wildlife viewing, ranger-led programs
Family fun at Sundance's Winter Festival
Head to the northeast corner of the state Feb. 18-19, 2017, for this family-friendly winter escape. The third annual festival features a Nordic ski race, skijoring down Main Street and a bar stool race in which competitors dress in creative costumes. A snow sculpting contest is sure to impress and the kids can participate in sledding and skating, with nightly outdoor movies and live entertainment.
Cost: This is a budget-friendly trip, with several hotels in Sundance starting at under $100 per night. Some events require entry fees, but attendance to the festival is free.
Other things to do: Shopping, Crook County Museum, 1875 Gallery, trips to nearby Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore, skiing and snowmobiling in the Black Hills
Soak in the Saratoga Hot Springs
Looking for some winter rest and relaxation? Wyoming has you covered. While the state boasts several hot springs, the hot pools in Saratoga feature a low sulfur odor, which means you won't carry the scent of rotten eggs with you after you soak. The Hobo Hot Pool and the Not So Hot Pool are open year-round to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you're after a more luxurious feel, the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort offers its guests a mineral hot springs pool as well as several smaller tepee-covered hot pools.
Cost: The Hobo Hot Pool and Not So Hot Pool are free, while the resort's hot springs are available to guests of the hotel or with any spa treatment.
Other things to do: Spa at Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, skiing and snowboarding in the nearby Snowy Range and Sierra Madre Mountains, ice fishing tournament starting Jan. 21, 2017, at Saratoga Lake