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Mountain High


High time to unbind from winter’s beast of burden: the dreaded treadmill. Though it’s kept runners’ feet in a flurry of motion as they climb virtual hills to prepare for summer’s races, fresh air and bird songs beckon. Soon June’s blooms will breathe life back into the lifestyle that defines Montana.

And with June will also come the first marathon of the season, the renowned Governor’s Cup in Helena. Whether you are a fan of the current administration or not, you should run this race. Marathon virgin you say? Well then, we’ve got the program for you, but you have to get on the ball today to get your application in.

The Caring Foundation of Montana’s Governor’s Cup is looking for 14 men and women from across Montana to join the “Anybody Can Run a Marathon” training team. After 12 weeks of phone and on-line training from Bill Schneider, a 35-year running veteran, the group will tackle the daunting 26.2 mile course on Saturday, June 5. Schneider, an original member of the Governor’s Cup committee, is an old hand at training rookies. Previously he’s held a clinic in Helena for more than 300 people. All first-time marathon runners from that clinic reportedly finished the race.

If you would like to be considered for the training team, register online by Friday, March 5. Team members will be notified on Monday and are invited to join Schneider on March 13 for a training overview and seven-mile group run. If Puff Daddy can do it, I guess anyone can.

Now that spring is on the horizon, regardless of blowing snow gales, it’s time to think about spring break. If you don’t mind seeing the same Missoula hippies from your humanities class eating breakfast in Moab’s Honest Ozzie’s Café (get it? Like the ancient Anasazi tribe that one day melted into the desert leaving only pottery, pictographs and mud huts to perplex generations to come?), head to Southern Utah. And if you want to get a little more tribal, strap on a backpack and check out Canyonlands National Park. Though permits in the coveted Maze District of the park have been swiped up by pre-planners for months, check out the Needles District for a few days.

News flash: Southern Utah spring-break getaways aren’t just for UM students anymore. Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) offers a spring break adventure to Moab for kids in middle and high school. The five days of activity include hiking in Arches and Canyonlands, rafting on the Colorado River, climbing Utah’s famous red rock country, and mountain-biking slickrock trails. The trip leaves Sunday, March 28, and returns Saturday, April 3. Cost is $255, which includes guides, transportation, equipment, food, and campsites. Space is limited to 12 participants. For more information call MOLA at 240-2458 or email

Gelande fans, wasn’t that some spectacular, high-flying action last weekend? If you want to watch more sliding on skis there’s an event this weekend, though not quite as airborne. The Telemark Montana State Series takes place Saturday and Sunday with a Sprint Classic and Slalom races. Come watch the action and cheer on your favorite pin-head. For more info call 549-9777.

Eagle Mount, a non-profit that provides therapeutic recreation for people with disabilities will be down at Lost Trail Powder Mountain this weekend. To volunteer with the organization or to participate in the fun, call 549-3797.

Break out the jet fuel, Missoula County’s burning season is upon us. For those of you who hear flames whisper your name in dreams, it’s time for pyromania (or counseling). Granted, a free permit is needed for such entertainment, and can be obtained at all Missoula County fire departments. But hold on friends of fire, don’t go burning just anything, only vegetation and untreated wood. Furthermore no burning grass. Or leaves, for that matter, if you live within the dreaded Air Stagnation Zone, which extends approximately four miles beyond city limits. For you city dwellers, additional restrictions exist, and you are advised to call the fire department to find out if a burning permit is allowed on your property. For more questions, the outdoor burning hotline number is 258-4900.

The New Rocky Mountaineers are bucking the warm weather and heading for final remnants of ice to climb. The crew will probably head for either Mission Falls or the Swan Slabs, both suitable for beginners and intermediates. Boots and crampons are required, but other gear can be shared. For more information call Gerald Olbu at 549-4769.

OK, so you’re tired from all this telemarking, marathon training and ice climbing, or maybe you just need some time to dry out your hiking boots before the next expedition. How about a nice family outdoors movie about the first white men to traverse this continent? The film, presented by the Sierra Club, is entitled Wild America: Protecting the Lands Explored by Lewis and Clark. Narrated by Academy Award-winner Sissy Spacek, Wild America follows the trail from the banks of the Missouri River through the Great Plains, across the Northern Rockies and down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. The film includes footage of people and landscapes from Western Montana, and interviews with ecology gurus Rick Bass and Jennifer Ferenstein. The film shows at 7 p.m., March 11, at the Roxy Theater. A presentation will follow the free film.

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