While we all await our transition into the new decade—perhaps with high hopes for actual political "change"—many of you, myself included, will mark the start of the new year with a resolution or two. Personal change, if you will. Perhaps you plan to stop gobbling down Oxycontins, intend to join a cult, or want to get out and bike around more (count me in on the latter).
If you've set your sights on becoming an expert runner, you can start 2010 off on the right foot this week with a running event fit for an eager novice.
Run Wild Missoula's New Year's Eve Run starts at 7 PM Thu., Dec. 31 at the Peak Health and Wellness Center, 5000 Blue Mountain Road. The run is free if you're a Run Wild Missoula member, and likely costs a minimal fee for others. To download a registration form, click quickly to runwildmissoula.org.
For those who'd rather burn some gas and watch wicked Five-O Grinds to ring in the new year, head north to Whitefish Mountain for its New Year's Eve Rockin' Rail Jam, Torchlight Parade and Holiday Fireworks Show, which starts with an "open jam session" of skiers and snowboarders hitting up custom built rail features at 5 PM, Thu., Dec. 31 at the resort, 3910 Big Mountain Road. The torchlight parade and fireworks show follows at 6:15 PM, and all events are free to spectate. If you'd like to participate in the event, visit skiwhitefish.com/calendar_of_events.php and call 862-2900 .
On New Year's Day, Fri., Jan. 1, those of you who either didn't swill too much or who happen to have stomachs of iron can get your legs pumping during the 11th annual New Year's Day Fun Run up in Thompson Falls, which starts with registration from 9–10:30 AM at Sherpa Cabins/Mighty Fine T's parking lot, 2604 Tradewinds Way, just east of Thompson Falls. Races follow at 11 AM and include a 2k fun run, as well as a 5k race/walk. Early registration was due Dec. 30, so you'll have to part with a late registration fee of $18 if you want a t-shirt, or $5 without a t-shirt. If you've got questions, direct them towards Sarah at 827-4887 or Tim and Anders at Runner's Edge, 728-9297. You can also jump the gun and grab a registration form by clicking to runmt.com/2010NewYearsDayFunRunEntry.pdf.
Sat., Jan 2 offers you the opportunity to glide in the glow of the moon when you join Steve Schombel of the Rocky Mountaineers for a Lolo Pass Moonlight Ski trip that starts at a TBA time late in the afternoon. Steve has plans for a cookout to kick-start the night, which then transitions into cross-country skiing on nearby groomed loops and roads that take you to Packer Meadow. The view is apparently breathtaking, so don't hold your breath any longer and contact Steve at 721-4686 for details. Also visit rockymountaineers.com.
Your kids can also find something to do—and perhaps set their own New Year's resolution—on Sat., Jan. 2 when you take them up to Montana Snowbowl for its kids program orientation and registration event from 9:30–11 AM on both Jan. 2 and Sun., Jan. 3. Once you make the drive up to 1700 Snowbowl Drive, you'll meet with instructors and they'll determine what ski program best suits your small fry with free mini-lessons and skiing on beginner lifts. After this orientation sesh, you can sign your kid up for Snowbowl's upcoming six-week ski programs that start Jan. 9–10. Visit montanasnowbowl.com for detailed descriptions of the classes and call 549-9777.
Those of you situated up in the Flathead can also help your whippersnappers attain greatness on powder during Whitefish Mountain Resort's Tommy Moe Kid's League Slopestyle competition for children ages 5–12. Registration runs from 9 AM–12 PM in the Fireside Room of the resort in the upper village, with a complimentary coaching session from 10 AM–12 PM and the competition following at 1 PM. It costs $12 per kid, with pre-registration available by calling 862-2909.
As we slide into Mon., Jan. 4, help yourself and your child cure a case of the Mondays by soaking in the warmth of shallow water during Missoula Parks and Rec's series of adult, parent/toddler and youth swim lessons at Currents Aquatics Center, 600 Cregg Lane. All classes start at various times, are geared toward different age brackets, and vary in cost, so I'd recommend clicking to missoulaparks.org and scrolling right to download the "Recreation Guide" for more specifics. Call 721-PARK.
All of you hunters who enjoy hunting with a bow, rather than blowing away animals with a high-powered rifle, should note Mon., Jan. 4 is also the first day to register for free Missoula bowhunter education classes, which occur from 8:30 AM–5:30 PM on Jan. 23, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27. Stop by Missoula's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Office, 3201 Spurgin Road, Mon.–Fri. from 8AM–5 PM to sign-up. Call 542-5500.
While we're on the topic of hunting, you ought to exercise your right to speak up about hunting regulation proposals during a free meeting on Tue., Jan. 5 at 6:30 PM at the Doubletree Hotel, 100 Madison St. Specifically, the proposals deal with eliminating antlerless elk hunting on the West Fork of the Bitterroot River, while also offering low numbers of limited antlerless hunting licenses for the rest of the Bitterroot and lower Clark Fork River districts. Get more specifics at the meeting, or by visiting fwp.mt.gov. Call 542-5500.
With that, I bid you a happy new year. See you next time around and remember this: walk, take a cab or find a designated driver if you plan to get sloshed on things other than snow this New Year's Eve.