Outdoor businesses in West Yellowstone assure this season will be great, even with lack of snow

There may be a lack of snow, but outdoor companies in West Yellowstone are still prepping for a great season
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Posted at 10:30 AM, Dec 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-08 12:42:07-05

El Niño may be causing a lack of snow and ice in Southwest Montana, but outdoor companies in West Yellowstone, like Madison Adventures, assure that this winter season will still be great.

"I am optimistic conditions on the lake can change very quickly," says the owner of Madison Adventures, Garrett Ostler.

Ostler with Madison Adventures, an ice fishing tour group, says this is the first year he's seen Hebgen Lake covered in this small amount of ice.

"Out here you can see the open water and that is open water out there, 200 yards," says Ostler.

Outdoor businesses in West Yellowstone assure this season will be great, even with lack of snow

Ostler says it's affecting his business, causing him to cancel three events so far.

"We also are considering moving that ice fishing tournament back from the 6th of January to the 20th of January, which we better have good ice then," says Ostler.

But Ostler remains optimistic for a great season. Just like Jerry Johnson. Owner of snowmobile and snow coach concessionaire, Back Country Adventures.

"I've lived here my whole life and there's only one year where we went almost to the 1st of January before there's enough snow on the roads to go in the park," says Johnson.

Johnson says he isn't worried about the snowmobile and snow coach rentals.

"The park doesn't open until December 15th. That's still, what, eight days away? We won't start calling people about the situation until about three days before. And that's just the snowmobile people," says Johnson.

Johnson says his phone is ringing off the hook.

"Our reservations are off the wall again," says Johnson, "We haven't had a lot of calls like 'We hear you don't have much snow,' and that kind of thing. We get more calls of, 'Hey, can I rent a snowmobile today,'" says Johnson.

Back on the lake, Ostler says he's trying to maintain a positive outlook.

"To worry about the weather is to worry about some unnecessary things. You can't do anything about it," says Ostler.