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It’s Personal in Yellowstone

Courtesy Montana Office of Tourism

In 2005, I joined a bus full of travelers on an impromptu adventure that was way outside the norm for traditional group tours.

I was on a tour of Yellowstone in winter operated by Cruises and Tours Worldwide. Our itinerary took us to West Yellowstone, Montana, to spend an afternoon and evening. The entire landscape was covered with a deep snow, and as we pulled up to our hotel, we saw a company advertising snowmobile rentals next door. From the back of the bus, someone called out a surprising question: “Can we do that?”

For a split second, the tour company owner, Anne Davis, seemed caught off guard by the question. After all, you wouldn’t normally expect a traditional tour group to clamor for an opportunity to race through the snow on high-powered machines. But Davis quickly jumped onboard with the situation:

“Absolutely,” she said. “How many people want to go?”

More than half of the hands on the motorcoach shot up, including mine. Davis got on the phone to begin setting up the experience, and within an hour or so, we were all climbing aboard snow machines for a trip through the West Yellowstone woods.

A guide led us out to a groomed trail that wound through tall evergreens. Once I became familiar with the trail and comfortable with my machine, I opened up the throttle and enjoyed an adrenaline-fueled ride through the forest.

I learned two things that day: There’s nothing more thrilling than a winter ride in Montana, and there’s no activity that’s too adventurous for group travel.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.