Mountain High 

Ladies and gentleman, it's time to put away your stash of powder porn in favor of the real thing. That's because this week, three of your favorite spots to carve and shred are opening for your skiing and snowboarding pleasure. On Thu., Nov. 25, aka Thanksgiving, Discovery Ski Area near Georgetown Lake opens at 9:30 AM and Big Sky Resort in Big Sky opens at 9 AM. According to info on their respective websites, Big Sky Resort plans to have 19 lifts open, while Discovery plans to have three. Tickets are $55 for adults at Big Sky Resort, and $29 at Discovery. Then, on Sat., Nov. 27, you can get gnarly on the gnar closer to home when Montana Snowbowl tentatively plans to open around 9:30 AM—and, as far as I can tell, most runs will be available for you to hit up. Tickets for adults at Snowbowl cost $40 for a full-day pass and $35 for a half-day pass. Of course, the snow goddesses might change things for better or worse, so be sure to check the snow reports at each hill before you head out.

Visit bigskyresort.com, skidiscovery.com and montanasnowbowl.com for updates and more info.



click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER


THURSDAY NOVEMBER 25

Trot around to help the less fortunate during the Whitefish Turkey Trot, a 5k race that benefits the North Valley Food Bank and begins at 8 AM at Whitefish's Riverside Park, off of Baker Ave. $15 registration on race day/$10 advance, with registration closing at the end of the day on Nov. 23. Also note that for every one pound of non-perishable food you bring to donate, 10 seconds will be taken off your total race time. This means the more food you bring, the greater your chance of winning the race. Visit whitefishturkeytrot.com for details.

Run wild with a tasty fowl on your mind during Polson's Turkey Trot, a 5k run/walk that begins with registration at 8:30 AM, followed by the race at 9:30 AM, on the corner of Highways 93 and 35. $10. The race benefits Polson's Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry. Visit polsonrunning.com.

Slide into Nordic ski season during the Yellowstone Ski Festival, West Yellowstone's decades-old traditional kickoff to winter that continues today through Nov. 27 and features clinics, races, gear expos and good times on and off the trail. Boot up for more info at yellowstoneskifestival.com.

Burn some calories before you gorge when the Missoula Family YMCA presents Thanksgiving Day exercise opportunities 9 AM–noon including aerobics classes at 9 AM, and a cycling class at 9 and again at 10 AM, all at the YMCA, 3000 S. Russell St. Cost of admittance is one non-perishable food item per person. Call 721-YMCA.

Praise the turkey goddess during Run Wild Missoula's Turkey Day 8K, a Thanksgiving run/walk that begins at 9:30 AM at the Boone and Crockett Club, 250 Station Drive. $15/$13 Run Wild Missoula Members. The race is also open to strollers and walkers. Visit runwildmissoula.org and e-mail Courtney at courtneybabcock@yahoo.com.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 27

Pray to the snow queen for gigantic mounds of the white fluffy stuff and get funky on the dance floor during Whitefish Mountain Resort's Pray for Snow Party, which starts at 7 PM at the Bierstube and includes a set by local funk band 20 Grand at 8:30 PM. Free. Call 862-6560 and visit skiwhitefish.com.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 28

Pop in Montana songwriter John Dunnigan's classic tune "Meat's in the Freezer (Let's Go Skiing)" and head out to fill your tags: It's closing day of the general season for deer, elk, moose, mountain lion, mountain goat and bighorn sheep. Aim for next year's dates at fwp.mt.gov.

Cross your skis with some hearty mountaineers when The Rocky Mountaineers host a cross-country ski trip to Lolo Pass today. Free. If conditions aren't great for skiing, the Mountaineers plan to snowshoe or hike the pass instead. Contact Julie at jawkal@hotmail.com for more info and meet-up time. Visit rockymountaineers.com.

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 30

Any and all women who want to hike in the company of their fellow XX chromosome holders are hereby invited to a Ladies' Hike Group that meets every Tue. and Thu. at 4 PM at a TBA location in Missoula. Contact Rissa at simpleretreat@yahoo.com to finalize plans.

Get the good word on what kind of gear and equipment you need when you hit the backcountry in search of fresh pow during REI Missoula's Backcountry Essentials class, which offers info on telemark and alpine touring gear, plus new places to ski, starting at 7 PM at REI Missoula, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Free. Visit rei.com/stores/72 to register and call 541-1938.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 1

Avoid burial by snow when the University of Montana's Outdoor Program and the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation offer a free one-hour Avalanche Awareness lecture, which covers avalanche safety tips and occurs at 7 PM at UM's Urey North Underground Lecture Hall. Free. Tumble to missoulaavalanche.org for details.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 2

Enjoy award winning nature, adventure and environmental films that touch on the endangered upper Flathead River Basin, lady bug swarms, young conservationists making a difference, and other topics, during the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, which begins at 7 PM at the Wilma Theatre. $10, with two for one student admission. Get tickets at Rockin Rudy's, The Green Light and The Trail Head. Visit wildernesswatch.org for details.

Grab some cool tips on how to camp in the cold during REI Missoula's Winter Camping Basics class, which covers info on winter tents, sleeping bags, and other items, starting at 7 PM at REI Missoula, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Free. Visit rei.com/stores/72 to register and call 541-1938.

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