Mountain High

| March 01, 2007

Go out your front door and look up and down your block.

No, that wasn’t one of this week’s scheduled outdoor activities. See all the plastic-enshrouded copies of the Missoulian in your neighbors’ yards? According to these piles of mooshy newsprint, it’s the time of year to flee our fluffy gray ceiling and head for points sunnier.

Or maybe just head to Butte for a while—hard tellin’ not knowin’.

One of the more restless members of our editorial suite has imminent plans to make for London’s Heathrow Airport, where the weather report at press time indicated rainy skies and 12 degrees Celsius—whatever that means—with clouds and rain as far into the future as the electronic eye can see. But before we say “bon voyage,” allow the Comrade to make a case for sticking around.

There is actually one quite compelling reason to stay here right about now. The snow is everywhere, it’s thick, and it appears to be going nowhere at the moment. If, by the time this paper reaches you, the temperature is again hovering around 55–that’s Fahrenheit, people—then all bets are off.

For now, anyone thinking of high-tailing it out of the area could have another think coming once they hear about the final round of Big Mountain’s Night Riders Terrain Park Series at 4 PM on Fri., March 2. More than 60 snow shredders are expected to compete on the 450-foot long, 57-foot wide Super Pipe. One gnarly brah/sistah will stand triumphant by evening’s end, so why leave Montana before seeing them crowned? Details concerning registration fees and procedures become clear when you call 862-2911.

Free-wheeling spirits who leave their fellows behind in a cloud of jetwash will unfortunately—or fortunately for the rest of us—miss out on another Big Mountain happening. Fri., March 2, and Sat., March 3, mark your last chance to treat yourself and your rooted loved ones to a Moonlight Dine & Ski Evening. Savor the porcini-dusted pork porterhouse, New York strip steak or crawfish-stuffed sole in the warm glow of the Summit House before enjoying a guided ski back to your lodging. Contingency plans exist for diners too stuffed to slide home. Tickets for the 6 and 7 PM seatings run $45/$22.50 for kids under 13. Call 862-2900 for reservations.

The cool-down we’re experiencing as I write this may be only temporary, or it could be the beginning of a new Ice Age. Again, hard tellin’ not knowin’. Either way, Montanans considering taking off for a bit should probably stick around for Dr. Chuck Jonkel’s lecture and field trip “The Alpine and the Arctic: Tracing Connections Between Montana and the Arctic” at 1 PM at the Montana Natural History Center, 140 Hickory St. Jonkel, who heads up the Great Bear Foundation, may prove difficult to keep up with as he leads the group on a field course that aims to tie our behavior to its impacts on the Arctic. Bring binoculars and call 829-9378 with logistical issues.

And if that grueling field course kept you in town just one more day, it will have served our own selfish purposes. And since you’ve delayed your departure this long, go ahead and put it off for a few more hours. Join the Rocky Mountaineers on Sat., March 3, for a full moon cross-country ski at Lolo Pass. Trip leader Steve Schombel plans to bring a stove up to the pull-off, setting up a Grateful-Dead-tour-style parking lot scene for a little pre-ski snack. Then it’s off to the short loop and out to Packer Meadows under the light of the tide-giving orb. Call 721-4686.

Of course, you’ll probably want to remain nearby for Snowbowl’s 19th Annual Snowboard Jam on Sat., March 3, and Sun., March 4. The Slope Style jam and the Monster Air contest give you what the Alps never could.

All right, if the travel bug really has a deep hold on you, perhaps we can bend a little. Take a road trip to West Yellowstone, the former snowmobile capital of, well, at least Montana, on Sat., March 3, for the Rendezvous Ski Race, an event that draws cross-country fanatics by the busload. The 28-year-old race accommodates skiers of all abilities and dovetails neatly with the West Yellowstone Youth Festival on Sun., March 4. Events for the kids include sprints, a speed trap, an obstacle course and relay races. Call 646-7701.

And we’re back to Big Mountain—sorry folks, they’ve just got it going on this week—which plays host to their 12th round of Special Olympics Montana’s State Winter Games. Opening ceremonies take place on Sun., March 4, and between then and the Tue., March 6, closing, expect more than 250 athletes to compete in alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. An athlete victory banquet, a dance/carnival and a families luncheon fill out the calendar of events. For information on volunteering, call 837-0319, or else visit www.somt.org/mt_wg/schedule.html for a full event schedule.

And if your heart’s simply dead-set on leaving, then leave you must. You know the one about “if you love something, set it free—if it returns, it’s yours; if it doesn’t, it never was?” In that spirit Comrade Calendar hereby purges you from the building, but don’t think we won’t send a certain food writer on a retrieval mission to Amsterdam should you overstay your leave of absence.

Bon voyage.

calendar@missoulanews.com

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