Not Too Early To Reserve Your Winter Vacation In Yellowstone National Park

Is this the winter when you'll stand in front of Old Faithful when it's 20 degrees below zero? Kurt Repanshek photo.

It's not-quite-mid-September, leaves are only starting to turn in some parts of the country, the furnace hasn't kicked on yet...but it's not too early to plan your winter adventure in Yellowstone National Park.

Book now and you can save upwards of a quarter off the normal cost of staying inside one of the park's lodges this coming winter. Xanterra Parks & Resorts, which manages the lodges, has already launched two "Frosty Fun" packages for the coming winter.

The packages include lodging for a minimum of two nights, breakfasts, Xanterra’s “Snow Card” good for 10 percent off meals, in-park transportation, tours, ski shop services and select retail items. The package based at Old Faithful Snow Lodge also includes roundtrip snowcoach transportation. Rates quoted are per person, double occupancy, plus tax and utility fee. Packages are available Jan. 1 through March 3 or 4, 2013.

“It won’t be long before it is time to take an inventory of cold-weather gear in anticipation of that winter trip to Yellowstone,” said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts in Yellowstone. “For many years we’ve provided convenience and great value with our winter packages. The Frosty Fun is our base winter package and our most popular. We also use the Frosty Fun as the foundation for all our other winter packages.”

The two Frosty Fun packages are:

“Frosty Fun at Mammoth.” This package includes a minimum of two nights in a room with a private bathroom at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, two breakfasts per person, welcome gift, unlimited ice skating and skates and Snow Card. Rates start at $135 per person for double occupancy and $226 for single occupancy. It is available Jan. 1 - March 4, 2013. The rates are 21 percent less than if purchased as individual components.

“Frosty Fun at Old Faithful.” This package includes a minimum of two nights of lodging at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, two breakfasts per person, welcome gift, unlimited ice skating and skates, round-trip snowcoach transportation and Snow Card. Rates start at $319 per person for double occupancy and $479 for single occupancy. It is available Jan. 1 - March 3, 2012. The rates are 26 percent less than if purchased as individual components.

In addition to the Frosty Fun packages, Yellowstone National Park Lodges offers the cross country ski/snowshoe-themed Nordic Heaven and snowmobile-based Trail of the Wolf packages as well as six Lodging & Learning programs combining expert guides, accommodations, transportation and meals.

Winter rates for single or double occupancy, plus tax, for individual room nights at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel start at $91 for a room with a shared bathroom or $123 for a standard hotel room with a private bathroom. Rates at the Snow Lodge are $219 for a lodge room, $156 for a Western Cabin or $99 for a Frontier Cabin, all with private bathrooms.

Winter Getaway packages may be booked by phone by calling (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free (1) 866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375) or by submitting a secure online package request form on the website. Complete tour details are also available at the web site www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com.

Except for the road from Gardiner, Mont. to Cooke City, Mont. via Mammoth Hot Springs, transportation within the park is limited to snowmobiles and enclosed heated snowcoaches during the winter. Snowcoach transportation is available daily to a variety of park locations. Xanterra also offers a variety of half- and full-day snowcoach, ski and snowshoe tours and ski and snowshoe rentals as well as expert instruction and other services.