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Mountain High



Snowbowl is looking good today; there’s white visible well down the mountain and the forecast is for more mountain snow. Just the other night, the snow line was down to 4,000 feet. I say, “How low can it go?”

There’s still no word from the place with lifts on how much snow is landing on the slopes, but visual inspection sure indicates a promising start, and you can rest assured you’ll find out about opening day in Western Montana as soon as I do.

In the meantime, there’s the next best thing to snow sports: snow-sports movies. In Missoula, it’s snowboarding in the spotlight this week, with two events to whet your edges.

The first arrives when Edge of the World holds its annual Snowboard Video Premiere Friday, Nov. 4, at The Crystal Theatre, 515 S. Higgins Ave., from 6 to 10 PM. There’ll be two showings, one at 6 PM and another at 8 PM, each featuring a couple of nationally-released films and showcasing a local film called The Union that’s supposed to be pretty cool. Call 721-7774 for details on film names and times.

The second film, Ad Libs: A Film About Snowboarding, actually comes first, on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7 PM in the Wilma Theatre. But we gave it some love last week, so this is just a reminder.

While we’re on the Wilma, you might as well know that Warren Miller’s latest flick, Higher Ground, is coming to town on Friday, Nov. 11. The reason that comes up is because I want you to save the gas money a trip to the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish would cost you.

Unless, of course, you’re in the Flathead, in which case you’d better get down to a screening of Higher Ground when it shows at 4:30 & 7:30 PM on Fri., Nov. 4, and Sat., Nov. 5, courtesy of the Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation. Call 862-6516 to get more info, and check back next week for the full low-down on the Missoula show.

If you’d really like to see some snow up-close, or maybe roll around in it a little bit or something, better head to the backcountry. Here are a couple of chances.

The New Rocky Mountaineers have a hike to Eagle Pass in the Mission Mountains planned for Saturday, Nov. 5. The route gains 3,860 feet over six miles of terrain that should have some remaining fall foliage and plenty of snow. Call 549-4769 to join the climb.

The Rocky Mountaineers are setting off on Saturday, Nov. 5, in search of a trail near the top of Woody Mountain that some members stumbled across last spring. One member worked to clear the trail in the 1970s, and he’ll be leading the bunch on an exploratory mission. Call 721-4686 to get in on the adventure.

One of the best things about climbing mountains is fishing in the high water. The Rocky Mountaineers celebrate these easy-lovin’ fish during their monthly meeting at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St., at 7 PM. At the meeting, Dan Shepherd of Grizzly Hackle International will show two videos about fly-in fishing in remote streams of Chile and Kamchatka. Call 543-6508 if you’re afraid to just show up.

Maybe you like the fowl more than the fish. If so, join up with the Five Valleys Audubon Society when they head to Maclay Flats on Saturday, Nov. 5, for a half-day bird-watching trip that starts at 9 AM. The route will be an easy two-mile loop and you’ll get advice from experienced birders on how to recognize the sights and sounds of birds in the area. Call 549-5632 or just show up at the Maclay Flats parking lot.

And, if you’re feeling disinclined to get behind the wheel, there are a couple chances for you to run around town this weekend.

For instance, the UM Fitness and Rec Center sponsors the Turkey Trot Trail Run on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 11 AM. Registration for the run, a 5K on the Kim Williams Trail, costs $15 and comes with a free T-shirt.

Or there’s the event being sponsored by UM’s Triathalon Team—the Mount Sentinel Hill Climb (& Kid’s Race to the “M”) at 11 AM on Sunday, Nov. 6. The 1 3/4 climb starts from the parking lot at the base of the “M” Trail, and it costs $15 to enter. The kids’ race is only $5 but doesn’t get started until 1 PM. Call 240-1304 to get more info.

Finally, this one is probably a better chance for you to watch athleticism than participate yourself, although I bet it inspires at least one person in attendance to give the sport of cyclocross a try. Check out this description: cyclocross is a closed-course, mixed-terrain race in which riders face obstacles, some of which require dismounting; the races are generally run in the fall and winter months and require participants to compete in all kinds of weather.

Get a first-hand look when Flathead Cycling sponsors the 6th annual Herron Park Cyclocross Race at 11 AM on Sunday, Nov. 6, at Herron Park in Kalispell.

Let me know what it looks like—and what you’re planning next week.

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