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Mountain High


Few things get an entire community’s panties bunched more than the mere thought of an incoming snowstorm. It’s probably because it affects everyone in some manner, except for a few agoraphobes and indoor cats. Driving is sketchy. Clothing choices take more consideration. Heating bills soar. I bet there are even a few people filling up their bathtubs with water before they go to bed each night, in case the pipes freeze. For some of us, though, our panties are bunched in anticipation, not trepidation. We stand at the ready, boards waxed, racks mounted on vehicles and eyes fixed to while we peer at infrared satellite photos of swirling clouds pregnant with the pow. This is the right way to live in Montana.

One way to embrace winter is to watch or participate in events such as Lost Trail’s Wild Bill Blast! Rail Jam. The event is named for ski hill owner Bill Gasser and is sponsored by Edge of the World and Backcountry Racks. The jam’s terrain park features a couple of big kid-sized jumps (so, pretty big), boxes, rails, corrugated pipe and plenty of places to bonk, grind and generally get rad. For those of us who consider ourselves more of the all-mountain kinds of riders or skiers, watching others demonstrate their style in the confines of the terrain park can be a hoot and a siren song. (If you’re over 28, don’t do it.)

The Wild Bill Blast! Rail Jam competition is held at Lost Trail Ski Area on Sat., Jan. 21, with registration from 9 AM to noon and the jam from 1–3 PM. The fee to participate is $10 and the event is open to skiers and boarders of all ages and abilities. For more info., go to


Teach the kids the birds and the bees before Wally the weird kid does at the Montana Natural History Center’s miniNaturalist Pre-K Program. For kids ages 2-5. This month’s theme is Winter Birds. 120 Hickory St. 10–11 AM. $3/$1 for members.

You’ll be climbing up a wall at Freestone Climbing Center’s Ladies Night each Thursday. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 students.

Come hear what FWP has in mind for the 2012-2013 hunting season, or go ahead and comment on what you have in mind for that time period. Potomac Community Center. 6:30 PM.


Hey little archers and aspiring archers, Bowhunter Certification Courses will be held Sat., Jan. 23, and Sat., Feb. 11, from 8:30 AM–5:30 PM. The field course for both will be Sun., Feb. 12, from 1–4 PM. 3201 Spurgin Rd. Register by following the education links at

Active outdoor lovers are invited to the Mountain Sports Club’s (formerly the Flathead Valley Over the Hill Gang) weekly meeting to talk about being awesome, past glories and upcoming activities. Swan River Inn. 6–8 PM. Free.


Granny get your guns and be a hero of telemark at the Seeley Lake Biathlon Challenge. This event has skate and classic styles, along with various distances for kids and adults alike. For novices and other folks, there are loaner guns and mandatory safety meetings. Day-of-race registration begins at 8 AM. For all the times, distances and costs, consult

Skate and destroy at the Missoula Figure Skating Club’s Learn to Skate basic skills class. This eight-week course will have you doing stuff that eight-year-old Romanians do in their sleep: pretty rad. Glacier Ice Rink. 10–11:30 AM. $115.

Let that inner Grizzly Adams out during Lone Pine State Park’s Animal Tracking and Sign Interpretation Workshop, taught by professional wildlife researcher Brian Baxter. Pre-registration is required. Ages 16 and up. $15. Call 755-2706.

Find out how them critters spend the winter out of doors during Lone Pine State Park’s Kid’s Snow Stompers Program Winter Sleep. For kids 4-7 years old. Lone Pine Visiting Center. 11–12 PM. $3. 755-2706.


Stretch out the hammies and slap on some thermals and join the Montana Wilderness Association for a Wilderness Walk in the West Fork of Fish Creek. The hike is considered moderate and is about 6-8 miles long. Snowshoes available on request. Space is limited. RSVP to Zack at 823-0695 or

Get off your bum (that’s for my Canadian friend) and join the Montana Wilderness Association for a Blodgett Canyon Wilderness Walk. The hike’s difficulty and length is weather-dependent. RSVP to Kip at 503-437-4862 or


At Slacker Mondays, from 6 PM until close, slackline fans can come to Freestone Climbing Center at 935 Toole Ave. to test their balance. $13/$10 for students. Visit


Just in time to really gnarmageddon it, the Montana Backcountry Alliance and Montana Wilderness Association host the shreddy-shreddy Backcountry Ski Film Festival to get your stoke on. Roxy Theater, 718 S. Higgins Ave. 7 PM. $10.

You’ll be climbing up a wall at Freestone Climbing Center’s Ladies Night each Thursday. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 students.

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