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Mountain High

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Your faithful Comrade Calendar was recently accosted by a local lout, who brutishly inquired, “Do you even know how to ski? I mean, how much of those events in Mountain High do you actually do?”

Considering the glove officially slapped across my face, I moved into a defensive posture to assess my liabilities and hidden assets before launching this response: I shred so hard. I shred harder than a Dick Cheney staffer. I take the pow pow, put it in my mouth and under the slats of what I like to call my “boards of global domination,” and then I totally shred it up into little bits.

So I offer this rebuttal and counter-challenge to my chicken-legged foe: Meet me at the following events, ‘cause this week’s Mountain High Decathlon is on. You’re a little snowbound, pseudo-ninja terrapin, and you shall know me as The Shredder.

We’ll start you out easy, buddy, as perennial ampersand-fans Missoula Parks & Rec offers a mellow Ski, Sun & Soak Cross-Country Ski Tour on Sat., Feb. 9, at 9 AM. We’ll meet at Currents Aquatics Center, where we’ll carpool to Lubrecht Forest’s famed trails before returning to Currents for some muscle-soothing hot-tubbing. Call 721-PARK, and don’t forget your blunderbuss, friend, as we can always settle this with a friendly duel.

In case you’re feeling just a wee anemic to muster a ski competition, I offer you this face-saving out: Travelers’ Rest State Park in Lolo offers a Fly Tying Workshop on Sat., Feb. 9, at 11 AM with master Earl Little holding your hand throughout. We’ll see who’s got the skills to tie the Beaded Assassin, or better yet, the Green Butt Peacock. Call 273-4253, and bring a sack lunch, chief. 

Here’s a chance to really prove who knows a thing or two about skiing: Join me at Lookout Pass on Sat., Feb. 9, and Sun., Feb. 10, when the 19th annual Winter Games of Idaho take the place by blizzard, with a Big Air Contest on day one and the Slopestyle Competition the next day. Can you hang, little buddy? Call Brian at (208) 744- 1301 ext. 16, or visit wintergamesofidaho.com.

I realize that such an unbridled display of Nordic acumen might seem beneath your stature, great outdoorsman, and so I present this option: The Sierra Club would be pleased as punch to accommodate us on their Sun., Feb. 10, Cross-Country Ski Trip from Lolo Pass to Lee Creek. The seven-mile route has enough quick downhill to challenge your abilities, but not so much that your weak hand tips of its own accord. Call Steve at 721-4686 for carpool info.

Rock climbing favors the legs, which is a good thing for you, Pee Wee: UM’s Climbing Competition at 10 AM on Sun., Feb. 10 is a perfect showcase for quads that just won’t quit. All levels of climbers are welcome, thanks be to Allah for you, so give 243-5172 a ring. 

As we head into the weekdays, I know your duties will keep you busy, but hopefully not too busy to remain locked in heated combat. On Mon., Feb. 11, I challenge you to attend the American Lung Association’s Reach the Summit Fundraiser informational meeting at 7 PM at Bob Ward & Sons. Think you’ve got the moxie to undertake a three-day scaling of Grand Teton in Aug. to benefit nationwide respiration? We’ll see. Call (866) 661-5864 or visit reachthesummit.us.  

We can take this thing as far as we need to, pal—all the way back to the beginning, if you like, when the Five Valleys Audubon Society presents “Birding Around Africa with Bill Gabriel” at 7:30 PM on Mon., Feb. 11, in Room L14 of UM’s Gallagher Business Building. Think you can differentiate between the red and yellow barbet and the baglafecht weaver? Time will tell, tough guy.

If African birding isn’t hardcore enough for you, how about African biking? At the Missoulians on Bicycles meeting at Adventure Cycling, 150 E. Pine St., Aaron Teasdale recounts his exploration of Tanzania by bicycle at 7 PM on Tue., Feb. 12. I know you’d prefer to motor your way across the savannah, but humor me here, a’ight?

Our cool-down final event comes on Wed., Feb. 13, when the Rocky Mountaineers hold their monthly meeting at Pipestone Mountaineering—I know how much you love shopping for gear, so the environs should make you feel right comfy for Jonathan Bardsley’s presentation “Nordic Skiing in Finland” at 7 PM. Consider this your final opportunity to recant your lofty and precipitous posturing, punk. Call 543-6508.

This I know, and it makes me the de facto winner before we’ve even begun: Sarah Daisy Lindmark likes me better than you. The “Eyes of the Independent,” SDL makes her photographic departure this week, bound for a town with more breweries than Missoula, should such a place actually exist. We’ll miss you, your charming spouse and the li’l bun we never got to pinch. I suppose you’re the real winner in all of this. Thanks, and may fortune, fate or fear lead you back some day.

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