Mountain High 

This week’s varying meteorological conditions allowed Comrade Calendar’s outdoor research team to pursue activities on both ends of the spectrum: a successful report from the snow angel-making team came in mere hours before an equally glowing account from the Indy’s winter skateboard posse. Indeed, this time of year holds treasure for everyone.

Some mammals slow down a bit in the lull after the holidays (bunnies, for example), but not the hairy vertebrates of the Rocky Mountaineers. They’ve got three trips planned this week, so without further verbiage: behind door #1 is the third annual MLK Ice Climbing trip to Radium Hot Springs or Lake Louise, which leaves town on Thu., Jan. 11, and is open to climbers of all abilities. Trip #2 also takes off on Thu., Jan. 11, when a hearty crew of Mountaineers depart for the wilds of Glacier Park with hopes of scaling Mount Jackson over the course of four days. Bring skis, avalanche gear, a cold-weather sleeping bag, an ice axe (see this week’s calendar trivia question), crampons and maybe some climbing gear and call Forest Dean at 721-6384 or 240-7612 if you’re interested. And in the interest of chronological consistency, you’ll have to keep reading for the third trip.

Lookout Pass makes an attempt at all-out bribery during their Toyota Free Ski Day on Fri., Jan. 12—drive to the hill in a Toyota and ski free all day. Good thing they didn’t choose Subarus, I guess. Also, on Sat., Jan. 13, Lookout hosts a ski/snowboard demo day, so you can try out all kinds of new gear up there, no matter the brand of internal combustion engine with which you ramp up atmospheric carbon levels.

In other Friday night ski resort news, Big Mountain’s Night Rider series continues at 6 PM on Fri., Jan. 12, with a skier and boarder cross event held in the Fishbowl Terrain Park. Groups of four racers will careen down the course simultaneously, with top racers advancing through the rounds of the tournament-style competition. Fees vary by age and degree of professionalism, so call 862-2911 for the full scoop. Big Mountain also offers several ski clinics during the Jan. 13–15 weekend—men’s and women’s workshops, a telemark workshop and the beginning of their Half Pints junior program—so call 862-2909 for full details.

You know you can always shuss down the slopes at Big Sky, but this is your only chance to take in their Sno-Ball at 6 PM on Sat., Jan. 13. The event features exhibitions of ice sculptures, an ice bar with snow tables and stools, a bounce room for the kids, live music and food and drink specials.

Missoula Parks and Recreation wants to get you into the “lifetime sport” of cross-country skiing, and they’ve put together an offer that’s hard to refuse. On Sat., Jan. 13, you’re invited to their Ski, Sun & Soak event. The trip leaves from Currents waterpark at 9 AM, travels to UM’s Lubrecht Experimental Forest for some skiing and then returns around 3 PM for soaking time in the spa. The Sat. event is for skiers age 16 and up, and on Sun., Jan. 14, a senior-friendly version of the trip also begins at Currents at 9 AM. The trips cost $35 per person, and you’ll need to bring your own equipment, water and snacks, but you can feel confident relying on the state for the rest.

Snowbowl gets its race on that same weekend, Jan. 13–14, with the Telemark-Montana State series, which features both slalom and sprint races to determine the swiftest free-heeler on the hill. And as if some wicked downhill wasn’t enough, the ‘Bowl also hosts the Northern Division Freestyle Event Jan. 13-14, so if you’re a fan of high-flying freestyle, mogul and jumping competition, be there slope-side.

The third Rocky Mountaineers trip is a nice, quiet midweek ski at Lubrecht Experimental Forest on Wed., Jan. 17. While the blurb mentions something about following the “most difficult” loop, don’t let that deter you—it’s a piece of cake. Call Steve Schombel at 721-4686.

After the grueling Lubrecht death-ski, you could choose to limp on over to the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto of the National Speleological Society’s monthly meeting on Wed., Jan. 17, at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St. As usual, there will be a brief business meeting followed this week by Dr. Patty Jo Watson, who will describe her work in Mammoth Cave in Kentucky in a program called “Prehistoric Explorers of the World’s Largest Cave.”

Finally, the Montana Wildlife Federation’s fourth annual photo contest has a Feb. 1 deadline for submissions. They are looking for photos that depict Montana’s wildlife or scenery, or maybe just some shots from your latest hunting or fishing foray. Prizes include a digital camera, a camera bag and a gift certificate for camera repair, in addition to fame, of course. Call 458-0227 for more details. And while you’re in the reaching out mood, reach out to your old buddy Comrade Calendar with news of more outdoor events.

calendar@missoulanews.com

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