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Winter Tourism in Island Park about to pick up thanks to recent snow storms

KIFI Local News 8

ISLAND PARK, Idaho (KIFI)- Recent snow will provide a big boost to winter tourism in Island Park, and only more snow is on the way. Which will provide that boost.

"There is snow in the forecast for the next week starting this Saturday. And so we're anxious to for that to happen. So, we're just going to stay positive and be excited about it," Richard Turpin the general manager of Sawtelle Mountain Resort said.

Last year was historic in terms of snow fall in the Yellowstone caldera and surrounding areas. While this year has had less snow on the ground, there's still plenty of fun to be had in the area.

"People have short memory, well, short memories, but it's long enough to remember what last winter was like, which was record breaking, and we had record breaking early snows. Then we're having a little more normal year. This year it's little slightly below normal, but we have more than adequate snow. People can ride pretty much all the trails and everything are open. You're not going to do the cross are open country type stuff like you would have last year. But you can get out and make it the fun that you want," Mike Wilson the owner of the Drift Fly lodge and shop said.

Wilson also shared that there are many different options available to people in the area, including fishing as Henry's Lake is open to fishing year round, and many of the rivers aren't frozen over.

Cross Country Skiing, Snowmobiling and other winter fun is available as well.

"With the snowmobiling, flat tire biking pursuit, biking, snow kiting, cross-country skiing and, you know, we haven't even got into the Yellowstone options," Wilson said.

Some business shared that they had a slower start this year as the snow hasn't been as much as it was last year.

"There's still snow up here, which is good. But we're off. We're all off to a slow start this year. It's just Mother Nature being Mother Nature in southeastern Idaho," Turpin said.

But the coming snow is just in time as many winter events are coming to the area.

"We've got the fat pursuit 200 k race that they do on the fat tire bikes up here every year....We have Winter Fest in Highland Park that same weekend... It's just a good time and the families that come enjoy it. And then the weekend after that, we've got Boondock coming in Boondock Nation and they bring in some pro riders and there it attracts a lot of sledders that weekend. And so huge weekend for us," Turpin said.

Yellowstone is also open for winter fun but there are different rules for the winter entry. For more on that you can go here. Island Park is ready and prepared for everyone to come carve up the mountain powder.

"We're looking forward to it. Just keeping on getting better throughout the next two and a half months. It snows, snow. More snow's coming on top of what we have and it's just going to open things up that much more for everyone," Wilson said.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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