while Yellowstone would be a cool bonus, IMO the first priority should be ski conditions and the second should be pricing (including airfare pricing/availability if there are big differences from week to week).
Later would generally be better for me, but if I end up spending significant time out West next winter, my regular schedule will be out the window...
I am in agreement with this but I would add consideration of guide/local Bear availability. I think one of the best aspects of the Gathering is getting to meet the locals and then benefit from local knowledge. It would be a shame for us all to converge on the place two weeks before a bunch of the locals would be able to make the party.
These two posts are the major factors any time you plan an event like this.
As always, there will be those who throw monkey wrenches into the planning.
Generally, if the Gathermeister (in this case nolo) is allowed to do her/his thing, then it will serve the major factors well and everyone will have fun.
No one knows this more than UL, yet he did his thing his way and we were all served well under his Gathermeister reign.
Cheers to those who plan these events
Cheers to those who show up
Cheers to those who guide
Cheers to those who have fun and don't let the naysayers get under their skin
Throw a dart at a calendar and then warn Montana that the Bears are coming to town!!