Last winter, 124,000 visitors came to ski, snowshoe, and snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park. That's when wildlife viewing is at its peak: access to vital forage concentrates elk, bison, moose, and the park's popular new residents, gray wolves, at thermal areas. This year, the just-opened Old Faithful Snow Lodge, built in the same grand-yet-rustic style as the park's Old Faithful Inn and Roosevelt Lodge, makes the perfect base from which to explore the ice- and snow-covered landscape. In the spacious great room, a glade of fir posts topped by pine tree-shaped lamps echoes the forest outside. Hand-carved wood furniture pays homage to the Arts and Crafts era. The framing timbers were recycled from buildings at Big Timber Works, the now-defunct Oregon mill that supplied wood for the nearby Old Faithful Inn in 1904. The lodge's 100 rooms (there are 24 more in six cabins) are purposely spare, yet completely comfortable. And on each cozy bed, thick, quilted blankets wait to wrap themselves around you when you're ready to retreat from the vast, majestic snowscapes.
OLD FAITHFUL SNOW LODGE, Yellowstone National Park; 307/344-7311; doubles $121; cabin rooms $101 per night.