Mountain High 

Winter in Missoula isn't exactly the greatest time to ride around on your bike. For starters, biking through tufts of snow can be a real pain, not to mention a little dangerous at times (I'm looking at you, black ice).

This week though, you make your winter commute easier, and safer, when Free Cycles hosts "Spice Your Bike," an event that's dubbed as a "winterization bicycle fiesta." It features a number of bike stations to accessorize your two-wheeler with things like fenders, lights, reflectors, drive trains, and even studded tires.

Also, the evening features a raffle for a handful of classic cruiser bikes, plus music by locals Freetown Turnaround at 6:30 PM, followed by tunes from local gutbucket blues hounds MudSlide Charley. This cycling fte is a potluck, too, so bring something tasty to share.

"Spice Your Bike" is Fri., Dec. 3, from 5–10 PM at Free Cycles, 732 S. First St. W. $4 suggested donation. Call Bob at 880-6834, or e-mail him at mist@strans.org for more info, or if you'd like to volunteer.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

THURSDAY DECEMBER 2

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.

Slack off from your duties and get lost in the powder when Lost Trail Powder Mountain, near the border of Montana and Idaho off Hwy. 93, opens for the season starting at 9:30 AM. Adult passes are $35 for a full-day/$30 for a half-day. Visit losttrail.com for details and call 821-3211.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 3

Shred it up on tufts of that sweet white stuff when Moonlight Basin, 1020 Hwy. 64 near Big Sky, announces an early opening of its Iron Horse lift starting around 9 AM, and running each day through Dec. 9. $25 per adult for a day ticket. The resort will be fully open on Dec. 11. Visit moonlightbasin.com and call 993-6000.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 4

Shoot down "Gray Wolf" and carve to your heart's content through "Goat Haunt" when Whitefish Mountain Resort, 3896 Big Mountain Road, opens today for the season starting at 9 AM. $64 for a full-day pass/$58 per day for more than one day pass/$56 half-day pass. Visit skiwhitefish.com or call 862-2900.

Children ages 8 and up get to stomp around in powder when the Montana Natural History Center presents Snowshoe Stomp!, an activity where kids snowshoe around Lolo Pass throughout the day, starting with a meet-up to carpool at 9 AM at the MNHC, 120 Hickory St. Free, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Call 327-0405 and visit montananaturalist.org.

Hit the trails with your cross country skis with some mountainous peeps when The Rocky Mountaineers embark on a day trip to the Chief Joseph cross-country ski trails. Free. Call Alden at 542-1966 or e-mail rocky@wrightmontana.net to coordinate meet-up time.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 5

Slap on your avian appreciation shades when the Five Valleys Audubon Society meets for a trip to view raptors and wintering birds in the Mission Valley, starting with a carpool meet-up at 8 AM in the middle of the UM Adams Center parking lot. Free, but bring a lunch. You can also meet the group at 9 AM at the Cenex gas station on the south side of Ronan. Call Jim at 549-8052 and visit fvamissoula.org.

Wear more than shorts during UM's Health and Human Performance Freezer Burn, a 10-mile race and 5K run/walk that begins at 10 AM at the Frenchtown High School parking lot in Frenchtown. Grab a cool registration form at runmt.com/2010FreezerBurnEntry.pdf .

TUESDAY DECEMBER 7

Tap into new ski terrain during REI Missoula's Sidecountry Essentials class, which covers info on telemark and randonee skiing, plus gear, starting at 7 PM at REI Missoula, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Free. Visit rei.com/stores/72 to RSVP and call 541-1938.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 8

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.

The Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St., presents "Wildlife Connectivity in an Era of Climate Change," a talk with UM/U.S. Forest Service geneticist Mike Schwartz that begins at 7 PM. $4 suggested donation/free MNHC members. Call 327-0405 and visit montananaturalist.org.

Rock out with your favorite peak baggers when The Rocky Mountaineers host their monthly meeting, which features a presentation on trail mapping in Mount Hood in Oregon, and begins at 7 PM downstairs at The Trail Head, 221 E. Front St. Free. Visit rockymountaineers.com.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 9

Get tips on the best mountaineering gear to use during your upcoming winter adventures when REI Missoula hosts a "Mountaineering Basics" class, which begins at 7 PM at REI, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Free. Visit rei.com/stores/72 to RSVP and call 541-1938.

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