Mountain High 

As we find ourselves in that one special week of the year where we all seem to splurge with our eating and buying habits, I want to let you know I've uncovered a handful of events to kickstart your Thanksgiving to ensure you're not driving yourself into total gluttonous abandon.

On Thanksgiving, Thu., Nov. 26, you've got two local opportunities to burn off some calories before you put on a few thousand later in the day.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ALEX SAKARIASSEN

This first is the Missoula Family YMCA's Thanksgiving Day of Exercise, which runs from 9–11 AM at the Health and Wellness Center at the Y, 3000 S. Russell St. Once there, you'll have three exercise events to pick from, including a family aerobics class, and a step aerobics class that both run from 9:15–10:15 AM. The third option is a cycling class that runs at 9 AM and again at 10 AM. All events are open to the public and cost one non-perishable food item per person. Call 721-YMCA.

The second opportunity is a reminder from last week: the Turkey Day 8K, a running/walking race which starts at 9:30 AM at the Boone and Crockett Club, 250 Station Drive. The race is open to the public and costs $15/$12 for Run Wild Missoula members. Visit runwildmissoula.org to register.

Also, skiers and snowboarders shouldn't forget that both Discovery and Big Sky Resort open on Thu., Nov. 26. According to its website, lifts start running at Discovery at 9:30 AM and an adult full-day pass is $35. At Big Sky, lifts begin at 9 AM and an adult day pass is $79. This could change, depending on the will of the snow gods, so if your eyes are set for Discovery, visit skidiscovery.com and call 563-2184. If you're keen on Big Sky, visit bigskyresort.com and call 995-5900.

Once the turkey, cranberry sauce and other fixins have settled in your stomach, skip out on Black Friday and spend your hard earned dollars on a trip to Red Lodge, since the Red Lodge Mountain Resort is slated to open at 9 AM on Fri., Nov. 27. For an adult day pass, you'll have to shell out $47, but I'm guessing it'll be worth it for all you snow junkies that have been hoping for a powder fix. In the case of less than stellar conditions, visit redlodgemountain.com and call the snow report hotline at 255-6973.

And if you're looking for another way to burn off some Thanksgiving-induced blubber, join those acrobats of ascension known as the Rocky Mountaineers when they head off at a TBA time on Fri., Nov. 27, for a climb up Mount Calowahcan in the Mission Mountains. The trip is estimated to be 7.5 miles in length and trip leader Forest Dean indicates that you should be in good physical condition for this outing. Also plan to bring: a harness and belay device, crampons, an ice ax and be sure you've secured a Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal recreation permit. Forest also has a backup plan if conditions are sour, so be sure to click over to rockymountaineers.com. For info on when and where to meet for the trip, give him a ring at 240-7612 or e-mail him at mtnear1@gmail.com.

After soaring high on Friday, plan to wake early on Sat., Nov. 28, to shred it up at our local ski hill of vertical intensity, Montana Snowbowl, which is slated to open at a TBA time that day. Once suited up and ready to jet to the mountain—located on 1700 Snow Bowl Road—be ready to part with $39 for a full-day lift ticket. But before you even head out of the house, call Snowbowl at 549-9777 or visit montanasnowbowl.com for updated conditions, as opening day could be delayed due to our warmer than normal November temps.

Also, those of you up in the Flathead who aren't yet able to rock some inverted 180s at the Whitefish Mountain Resort can certainly pray for the chance to hit fresh powder at 7 PM on Sat., Nov. 27, during the Pray for Snow Party, which takes place at the Bierstube on the mountain, 3896 Big Mountain Road outside of Whitefish. The free event is for those 21 and older and includes a bonfire at 7 PM, followed by music by local Americana stringers Canyon Creek Ramblers at 8:30 PM. Take note that there's a complimentary shuttle to the resort from Whitefish throughout the duration of the party. If you've got any lingering inquiries, call 862-6560 or visit skiwhitefish.com

Once your weekend of wickedness on ice crystals comes to a close, spend the night on Mon., Nov. 30, helping out a local group of backcountry ski enthusiasts when UM's Backcountry Club holds its annual fundraiser at 6 PM at Bayern Brewing, 1507 Montana St. The group is looking to raise some fundage in order to support its expenses over the 2009/2010 ski season, and for that, asks for a $5 donation at the door. In return, you'll get to watch ski movies and have a chance to win prizes including donated ski gear from local businesses. For more info, contact Kevin Freund at fru_003@hotmail.com.

To cap off our week, I'll make mention of the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, which hits the screen of the Wilma Theatre at 7 PM on Thu., Dec. 3. I'll include more details next week about this documentary fest, which features films that touch on sustainability, outdoor trekking and more. Admission costs $11 or two for one with a valid student ID, and you can nab tickets at the door, at Rockin Rudy's and a few other spots. Visit sbcmontana.org for a full list of ticket vendors and more info.

Be thankful in your gorging endeavors, but be ready to cook off some of the extra padding by next week.

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