Mountain High 

With the holiday season now in full swing, your plans might include quality time with the family in the great outdoors. If that's the case, bring your camera and pay extra attention to the outdoor feats of your mother, sister or grandmother.

I bring this up because you can honor those women this week by submitting a photo of them living it up outside—such as your mom hiking, or your grandma shredding it up at Snowbowl—for Women in Nature, a First Friday outdoor photo exhibit at Betty's Divine which opens with a reception at 5 PM on Fri., Jan. 8. You can also submit a photo of yourself in the outdoors—if you're a female, of course. To submit your photos, contact Jennifer with Mountain Star Journey's by Tue., Dec. 29, by calling her at 370-9631 or e-mailing starteam@mountainstarjourneys.com. Also visit mountainstarjourneys.com.

After slipping in your best pics, get active in the form of navigating moguls and carving into some fresh powder at Montana Snowbowl, which as of Dec. 20 reports that it's 80 percent open and will be open daily at 9:30 AM, except for Christmas Day. Some of the runs now ripe for your shredding pleasure include Headwall and Upper Grizzly. If you plan to go Thu., Dec. 24, know that a full-day pass runs you $39 and a half-day pass is $34. Visit montanasnowbowl.com or call the snow phone at 549-9696.

On Christmas Day, Fri., Dec. 25, you and your family can forgo relaxing at home in order to rock sweet kick grabs and indie turns down south near Sula at Lost Trail Powder Mountain, which reports that it will be open at 9:30 AM. As of Dec. 20, the mountain has 39 inches of powda at its summit with all lifts operating. If you've already starting frothing at the mouth, know that you'll have to shell out $34 for an adult day-pass or $29 for a half-day pass. Visit losttrail.com and call 821-3211.

If you don't mind taking a trip up north, Whitefish Mountain Resort indicates it will be open Fri., Dec. 25 at 9 AM for lower lifts and at 9:30 for all others. It also sounds like Mother Nature has been good to that goliath, as the most recent snow report indicates a hefty settled base of 51-inches of powder at the mountain's summit. If you're now brimming with excitement, be sure you have $61 on hand so you can get an adult full-day pass, or $51 for a half-day pass. Keep abreast on conditions by calling the snow phone at 862-7669 or by visiting skiwhitefish.com.

As I turn my gaze southwest of Big Mountain, I see that Blacktail Mountain will also be open on Fri., Dec. 25 at 9:30 AM. The resort, located near Lakeside, reports that it's 50 percent open with a settled base at mid-mountain of 35 inches. A full day on the mountain costs you $36, while a half-day is $30. Visit blacktailmountain.com and call 844-0999.

As I head back to Missoula and look west, I find that Lookout Pass opens at 10 AM on Fri., Dec. 25 for all of ye to bust out your best iron crosses or 360 tail grabs. Conditions as of Dec. 20 also look stellar, with 52 inches of snow on the summit as well as 90 percent of runs open. So if you decide to head west on I-90, be sure you've got $34 on hand for a full-day lift ticket or $29 for a half-day. Click to skilookout.com or dial 208-744-1301.

Off to the east, I'm happy to report that Big Sky's Moonlight Basin is also open on Fri., Dec. 25 at 9 AM. Rumor has it that Santa will be sliding his joyfully flabby body around on the slopes too, which at press time had a reported base depth of 33-inches of packed goodness. Besides gas money, plan to have $55 on hand for a full day of skiing or $45 for a half day. Ring up 993-6000 and visit moonlightbasin.com for conditions.

Kris Kringle also plans to shoot down the hill over at Big Sky Resort, which opens up at 9 AM on Christmas Day. Conditions as of Dec. 20 also seem ripe for extreme cruising and carving: a base depth between 28–44 inches, as well as 119 of 150 runs open. For a full day of ripping it up, you'll need $79, or for a half day you'll have to dole out $69. Visit bigskyresort.com and call 995-5900.

A little closer to home, Phillipsburg's Discovery Ski Area indicates it will also be open Fri., Dec. 25, at 9:30 AM. As of Dec. 20, it has a snow depth of 26-inches at the top of the mountain, along with 30 trails and 65 terrains open for ye. $35 nabs you a full day of shredding while $27 nets you a half day. Call 563-2184 and visit skidiscovery.com.

After an enjoyable Christmas—and perhaps a weekend—on the slopes, all runners aiming to run in the Boston Marathon in April should scoot to a Boston Marathon Training Class at 5:30 PM Mon., Dec. 28 at Runners Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. The 16-week course is geared toward those with marathon experience and features coaching from experts Anders Brooker and Courtney Babcock. $60/$50 for Run Wild Missoula members. Visit runwildmissoula.org.

You should also join up with Run Wild Missoula on Thu., Dec. 31 before you get a little tipsy for the new year during its New Year's Eve Run, which is from 7—10 PM at the Peak Health and Wellness Center, 5000 Blue Mountain Road. Cost TBA/free for Run Wild Missoula members. Snag a registration form from runwildmissoula.org.

For now, that's all I've got on tap. Be merry and active this week, and say "Yo" to the man in red if you see him wandering around town.

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