Wyoming weather is nothing if not unpredictable, and some people don’t consider the “Wyoming experience” complete without encountering a blizzard.
But, let’s face it, those are probably the same people that enjoy “skijoring,” a haphazard winter sport that combines skiing and horseback riding. You’ll likely find these cowboys and cowgirls out during said blizzard, when everyone else is huddled next to a fire.
In light of the recent bomb cyclone that dumped buckets of snow on Albany County while the rest of the country was planting their spring gardens, however, we thought it might be prudent to provide some tips for visiting Wyoming during the snow season, which can be a year-round attraction.
Be prepared: It can snow every month of the year. My favorite snow event was a particular Fourth of July when I was a teenager. It started snowing in Cheyenne during the fireworks show. Even if you’re driving a rental, it’s prudent to keep a blanket, snacks and water in the vehicle and keep the gas tank full. If you’re driving your own rig, investing in some tire chains, a tow rope and jumper cables is highly recommended. Visit https://visitlaramie.org/holiday-travel-tips-for-traversing-wyomings-mountain-passes for more vehicle-related winter tips.
Call ahead: Nothing dampers a vacation quite like planning a walking tour of Laramie’s historic downtown district in March months in advance only to arrive during a blizzard-induced citywide shutdown. While many services may be closed for the day, some Wyomingites will brave the elements to open their businesses despite the weather. Before you cancel all your plans and spend the day in the hotel’s hot tub, call ahead and see the spa where you booked a massage is indeed closed for the day.
Stock up: Modern technology has reduced the time a blizzard might shut down a town, but if you know inclement weather is on the horizon, and you’re headed to a cabin in the Snowy Range, bring more supplies than you think you’ll need and don’t forget the TP.
Fill the bathtub: Once you get to the cabin, fill the bathtub with water. If your pipes freeze, you’ll at least have a few gallons of clean water to flush the toilet, do the dishes or wash your hair. We don’t recommend drinking the bath water afterward, however.
Dress in layers: A blizzard does not mean you are relocated to your quarters. Once the initial storm breaks, you might find yourself looking into this whole skijoring thing or simply building a snowman. Whatever the case, don’t make the mistake of draping a fluffy parka over a cotton T-shirt. Inevitably, you’ll get hot, peel off a layer and the sweat collected in your shirt could lead to a quick case of hypothermia. Instead, wear your long-johns (Pro tip: always pack long underwear when planning a visit to Wyoming) and thick — preferably moisture wicking — socks under your normal winter attire. Personally, I prefer to wear two layers on my legs and at least three on my torso, but your mileage may vary. Lastly, the footwear — nothing will dampen a day quicker than cold, wet feet. No boot fits all feet, so you might want to look into what winter-proof shoes that fit your needs best.
While not a comprehensive list, these tips should get you out of a drift and into your vacation in snow time flat. If you get lost along the way, remember, all trails lead to Laramie, but you should probably confer with your navigation device before driving blindly through a bomb cyclone.