Mountain High 

Each week, the Indy reminds soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan about Spartans Honor, a local outdoor program of sports and social recreation aimed at helping veterans negotiate disabilities and readjust to civilian life. With issues ranging from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other emotional problems to lost limbs and mobility, returning warriors display a range of needs. Facilitator Chris Poloynis offers one outdoor and one indoor session per week. Call 327-7834.

And as everything’s connected here in Mountain High, another opportunity to lend vets a hand comes your way via Project Healing Waters, an endeavor of the Federation of Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited, which introduces wounded and disabled veterans to fly-tying and fly-fishing. River trips get service members into the lifelong pursuit and help them access the rehabilitative powers of the natural world.

To that end, Lt. Col. Robert Kowal asks that you donate fly tying vises, tools and materials, as well as used fly rods, reels, lines and other equipment, to help returned soldiers in our area reap the rewards of the program. Contact him at  healingh20water@gmail.com, or call (509) 467-2017. For testimonials and video information browse on over to projecthealingwaters.org.

And if you’ve picked this issue of the paper up promptly, you’ve got a few hours left before our first slew of activities. You see, at 5:30 PM on Thu., Feb. 26, the Sierra Club’s Volunteer Open House begins at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. There are probably one billion ways you can help the Club and the wild places it serves, so don’t just show up for the refreshments. And call 549-1142 if you can’t hold your questions until then.

Maybe instead of working in the interest of nature, you’d rather bone up on your knowledge thereof. In that case, your first of three chances this week to learn about birds comes at 7 PM on Thu., Feb. 26, when Dan Casey presents the Advanced Birding Workshop “Gulls” at the Fish, Wildlife & Parks office on Spurgin Road. The class runs $15, or $60 for the full series, and whatever you decide, call 549-5632 first.

And we’re not done yet: Also on Thu., Feb. 26, the Runner’s Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave., hosts the second GrizzlyMan Adventure Race Clinic—this one focuses upon race day nutrition and training techniques—at 7:30 PM. It’s free, and you don’t even have to register. Regardless, you’re more than welcome to call 728-9297.

Do I have time for a quick shout out? Good. This weekend, the Missoula Freestyle Ski team applies pressure to the competition during the Northern Division Slopestyle and Mogul Contest at Lost Trail Powder Mountain. Show your support with a great clamor.

Or, show your support for our inalienable rights to advanced weaponry. At 6 PM on Fri. Feb. 27, the Doubletree Hotel hosts the Missoula Friends of the National Rifle Association’s Banquet and Auction. If it’s firearm related—or even if it’s not—the chances are good that you can bid on it. Tickets are $40, but just think of all the freedom that’ll pay for. Call 214-1343 or 542-7678.

Don’t spend too long sleeping off that wicked gunpowder hangover, or you’ll miss the Five Valleys Audubon Society, which invites you to meet at 9:30 AM in the UM Adams Center parking lot for a waterfowl watching trip to the Stone Container mill. Alternately, you can meet the group at 10 at the mill gate. Call 549-5632.

The Rocky Mountaineers head out for a fourth straight weekend as they host a day of backcountry skiing in the Bitterroots on Sat., Feb. 28. There’ll be all kinds of options here, from a short trip to overnight ventures to completely abandoning civilization and heading into the wild en masse. Contact Joshua at 543-0898 or mtsurveyor@gmail.com.

Also on Sat., Feb. 28, Bozeman’s Bridger Bowl kicks off their two-day Terrain Park Jam Community Race Series, with snowboarders competing today and skiers tomorrow. Get on out there, or at least do the virtual thing when you visit bridgerbowl.com.

Let’s keep this next one between you and me, capiche? Discovery Ski Area’s Midnight Madness Pass Sale begins at, yes, midnight on Sun., March 1. You’ve got just one hour to log onto skidiscovery.com and snag a sweet deal.

After that brief burst of consumerism, grab yourself a few more winks, as Missoulians on Bicycles wants you to meet at Adventure Cycling, 150 E. Pine St., at 10 AM on Sun., March 1, for a round-trip ride across town to the Montana Club on Reserve St. Get in on this early season warm-up when you call John at 543-3230. 

And while this is no substitute for getting out and exercising, it can be considered a supplemental form of training: At 6 PM on Sun., March 1, the Radical Reels Film Tour presents the film Faster, Steeper, Higher, Deeper! in UM’s Urey Lecture Hall. Five or six extreme sports fill the time as their practitioners tempt fate and strive for glory. $11/$9 advance. Call 243-5172. 

And we skid into next Thursday with this news: You’ve got to go your own way on Thu., March 5, at 7 PM. Either choose the next Audubon Society Advanced Birding class—Raptors with Steve Hoffman, call 549-5632—or head back to that same Urey Lecture Hall for a screening of the mountain bike flick Seasons, which is free.

I know where I’ll be. But there’s no way I’m sharing that intel with the likes of you.
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