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Mountain High

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We all knew the end of the ski season was coming, but perhaps we were in denial of how quickly it creeps up on us. So I'll start off by sadly informing you that it's the last weekend of the season to hit the slopes at several ski hills in Montana, including Montana Snowbowl, Whitefish Mountain, Bridger Bowl and Discovery Ski Area. All of those hills are calling it quits for the season on Sun., April 4, so don't slack on getting in some shred time. Also, Montana Snowbowl is offering a free barbecue on its last day, so you can have your meat and get your downhill thrills on, too.

Moving on, we begin Fri., April 2, by giving back to those who have risked it all for us by attending Xsports4Vets, a fundraiser at the Badlander at 7 PM that aims to help vets from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reintegrate into society though participation in summer river boarding courses. The soiree features boot kicking country music by Shane Clouse and Stomping Ground, as well as a raffle. $5. Call 239-3198.

Afterwards, catch up with your favorite peak climbers known as the Rocky Mountaineers on Fri., April 2, for a weekend trip to Freezeout Lake near Choteau for some easy hiking and avian sightseeing. Plans are in the works to carpool up there and stay in a hotel in Choteau, so find out the final word by calling Julie Kahl at 543-6508 or e-mail her at jawkal@hotmail.com. Visit rockymountianeers.com.

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On Sat., April 3, breathe deep and let sweet beads of sweat drip down your neck in honor of those things that make our city beautiful during the 18th annual Run for the Trees, a 5k walk/run which starts at 10 AM at McCormick Park. $25 adults/$20 youth, with registration due Thu., April 1. A 1-mile, non-timed fun run for all ages starts at 9 AM. Register at Currents Aquatics Center, 600 Cregg Lane, or visit runforthetrees.org. Call 721-PARK.

Turtles and bison get a "wassup?" on Sat., April 3, during the Missoulians on Bicycles (MOBI) ride titled Turtles, Bison and Bikes, a 38.5 mile jaunt which starts at 1 PM with a meet up at Ninepipes Restaurant, 69286 Hwy. 93 near Charlo. Once in position, you'll ride south on the highway past Ravalli, up Hwy. 200 to Dixon and then back to Charlo via Hwy. 212. Call Tim Marchant at 250-7228. Visit missoulabike.org. Free.

Kick it with an Easter Bunny on Sun., April 4, but don't forget to have your two-wheeler on hand for yet another ride with MOBI. This time it's the Easter Tour of Town, which starts at 10 AM at the Eastgate parking lot off of east Broadway Street. Free. The 34 to 40 mile ride ought to cover a lot of ground, as you'll bike up the Rattlesnake, head over to Grant Creek, then ride up to Miller Creek with a final stop up Pattee Canyon. Call Paul Gibson at 728-8722.

After a night of rest, push your pedals on Mon., April 5, over to UM's Outdoor Program, located in UM's Fitness and Recreation Center, so you can sign up for events tailored to fly fishers and birding/canoeing enthusiasts. The first is a fly fishing course taught by George Kessel, fly fishing extraordinaire and owner of Four Rivers Fly Shop. It meets Thursdays, starting April 8, from 6–8 PM in Room 202 of UM's Jeannette Rankin Hall. Field trips on the water are slated for April 24 and May 1. $52. Call 243-5172 and visit life.umt.edu/CREC. The second offering is a birding and canoeing overnight trip to the Flathead River, which occurs April 10–11. Once you have paddle in hand, you'll explore a section of the river and examine the diversity of its riverside habitats. $45, with a pre-trip meeting on Tue., April 6, at 5 PM. Call 243-5172.

Runners find a reason to relax during Run Wild Missoula's Tuesday Lunch Yoga, a 14-week class that meets from 12:15–1 PM starting Tue., April 6, at Runner's Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. $83/$77 Run Wild Missoula members. RSVP by e-mailing Missy Adams at missyadams410@yahoo.com. Also, Run Wild Missoula has a handful of other training courses this week, but lack of space means you should check runwildmissoula.org for more info.

Conservation, beer and salmon make for an intriguing and lip- smacking evening on Tue., April 6, when author and conservationist Erin McKittrick visits Missoula with her husband Hig to present "Fools Gold: Stories and Film from the Front Lines of Adventure Conservation," an event that's part of the Alaska-based Save Bristol Bay Campaign. The free event, which starts at 7 PM at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts, 200 N. Adams St., features a photo presentation, stories, a book signing, a screening of the documentary Red Gold and mouth watering appetizers like local beer and Alaskan salmon. Visit groundtruthtrekking.org.

On Wed., April 7, delve into something crunchy and slightly mysterious when you witness Dr. Raymond Murray's presentation "Mica, Minerals and Mystery: The Fascinating World of Forensic Geology," which starts at 7 PM at the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St. $4 suggested donation. Call 327-0405 and visit montananaturalist.org and forensicgeology.net/science.htm.

Intoxicate your senses with beautiful foliage on Thu., April 8, when the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society presents what appears to be a photo presentation of Montana's high mountain wildflowers, which starts at 7:30 PM in Room L09 of UM's Gallagher Business Building. Free. Visit mtnativeplants.org.

Finally, here's an early reminder that you should sign up post-haste for a two-day river rescue class for rafters, kayakers and others, which meets April 9–10. $89. Visit missoulaparks.org for details and RSVP by calling 721-PARK.

In the meantime, carve it up and ski liberally—at least until they kick you off the mountain.

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