Mountain High 

If you're a powderhound during the winter and a whitewater rafting junkie in the summer, you're in for a treat this week. On Sun., Dec. 19, you'll be able to shred the gnar on the cheap, and do your part to support a worthy river recreation project, when Discovery Ski Area hosts an all-day benefit for The Max Wave. If you're unfamiliar with this watery endeavor here's a primer: It's a planned surf wave that will be located on the Clark Fork River near downtown in memory of a late local kayaker named Max Lentz who died at the age of 17 while kayaking in West Virginia. Although the project has yet to break ground, organizers are hoping the wave will be ready for paddlers by 2015.

Here's where you come in: Discovery is offering full-day adult lift tickets at $28 a pop, and $10 from every ticket sold will be donated to The Max Wave. Sounds like a pretty good deal, yeah? You know it. Plus, you'll also get to soak up the stringy sounds of local bluegrass/folksters The Lil' Smokies, who plan to play a gig at Discovery later that day.

Visit themaxmissoula.org and skidiscovery.com for more info, or call 563-2184.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

THURSDAY DECEMBER 16

Go the Nordic way when REI Missoula hosts its "Cross-Country Skiing Basics" class, which offers you tips and info about getting into the winter sport, starting at 7 PM at REI, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Free. Visit rei.com/stores/72 to RSVP and call 541-1938.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 17

Be a good Samaritan and get your pow face on when Moonlight Basin, 1020 Hwy. 64 near Big Sky, presents its fourth annual "Turkey for a Ticket" food drive, which features the chance to get a free day lift ticket if you donate 20 cans of non-perishable food, or one frozen turkey, between 8:30 AM–1 PM. All proceeds will be given to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. Visit moonlightbasin.com/site/00648.html for more info.

Grab a drink and shoot the bull with your favorite peak baggers when The Rocky Mountaineers hosts its Christmas Party, starting at 6 PM at the Press Box, 835 E. Broadway St. Free to attend. Visit rockymountaineers.com

Run like hell around those icy patches during the Light the Way race, a 5k run through Greenough Park that's lit by luminaries and begins at 6:30 PM at the picnic shelter off Monroe Street. $30, each participant will also be given a headlamp to run with. Snag a registration form at Runner's Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 18

Peep the sickest new ski and snowboard gear during "Valley Demo Days at Whitefish Mountain Resort," which features demos of ski and snowboard gear from a slew of companies for you to try out from 8:30 AM–3 PM at the Lift Plaza at the resort, 3905 Big Mountain Road. Free, but guests will need an ID and credit card for a deposit, and a lift ticket to ride the chair lifts. Visit skiwhitefish.com.

Dive into the hottest avian ogle fest known to Missoulians during the Five Vallley Audubon Society's annual Missoula Christmas Bird Count, which occurs at various times today within a circle with a 15-mile diameter, centered at the Reserve Street/I-90 intersection. Free. Participants will count every bird seen or heard during the day, and all levels of birders are welcome to participate, either with a group in the field or at home by watching your bird feeder. Call Larry at 549-5632 to participate in the field count, or Elizabeth at 327-1525 to count at home.

Those in the Flathead can count birds to their heart's content during the Flathead Audubon Society-sponsored Bigfork Christmas Bird Count, which occurs at various times today at places like Flathead Lake, and the Swan and Flathead Rivers. Free. RSVP by Dec. 16 by calling Dan at 270-5941 or 867-3143.

Feed your daily need to shred or carve when Montana Snowbowl announces that it's open daily starting today through Feb. 28, beginning at 9:30 AM. $40 full-day pass/$35 half-day pass. Visit montanasnowbowl.com.

See who can catch the biggest air on a number of custom made rail features when The Terrain Parks at Lost Trail present the Wham Bam Rail Jam, the first rail jam competition of the season that's open to skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities, and starts at 3 PM at Lost Trail Powder Mountain, near the border of Montana and Idaho off Hwy. 93. $10. Riders must sign up by noon. Visit ltpark.com for more info.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 19

Kick out the jams on your cross country kit during the Kick-Out-The-Kinks Benefit Ski Race, a 5K and 10K ski race in Essex at the Izaak Walton Inn that benefits the Middlefork Quick Response Unit. $10 per person. Call 888-5700.

TUESDAY DECEMBER 21

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 in Missoula. Contact Rissa at simpleretreat@yahoo.com to find out meeting locations and to finalize plans.

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