Mountain High 

Like many of you, I have been jonesing for another epic winter of deep puff-puff gnar-gnar with days spent in the white room, quads afire and calves a-cryin'. Of course we had that mega-dump a while back, but the National Weather Service in Missoula isn't being very optimistic, writing on their Facebook page "Light snow coming late Wednesday, last chance for a while...maybe a long while." This is when the winter blahs set in. No freshies to get stoked on. Dog crap appears out of the melting snow in the front yard. Mud in the mudroom. Blah.

Rather than quitting on winter, let's take advantage of some other goodtime activities (besides, we get all our snow in March, anyway). Head down the 'Root to the Soroptomists of Hamilton Winter Golf Tournament. Before you cry "four," keep in mind that this tournament takes place in town and won't require snowshoes or other traction devices. There are two routes your team can take: Traditional or Caddyshack. The Traditionals of putt-putt are the Ted Knights of golf, concerned with rules, etiquette and decorum. While the Caddyshack teams are likely to blast Journey and be the Rodney Dangerfields of fun times (Caddyshack teams are encouraged to bribe their way to better scores). Either way, costumes are encouraged as players make their way through coffee shops, bars and other downtown businesses that have set up 18 challenging holes. The local fire hall has a blind two-story shot that follows the fire pole and leaves little room for error. The proceeds from all this zaniness help worthy causes such as the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital Mammogram Program, S.A.F.E., Bitterroot Literacy and Youth Homes of Bitterroot. There are prizes for the top three teams and for designated drivers.

The Soroptomists of Winter Golf Tournament in Hamilton takes place Sat., Feb. 4, from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM. Meet at the Eagle's Club on 208 Ryman St. Cost is $80 for traditional teams and $55 for "Caddyshack" teams. Call Mary Alice to register at 396-9105.

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THURSDAY FEBRUARY 2

The folks at the Montana Natural History Center teach the young 'uns how to observe and connect with nature at the miniNaturalists Pre-K Program, for ages 2–5. 120 Hickory St. 10–11 AM. $3/$1 members.

You'll be climbing up a wall at Freestone Climbing Center's Ladies Night. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 students.

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 3

Hey little archers and aspiring archers, Bowhunter Certification Courses will be held Sat., Jan. 23, and Sat., Feb. 11, from 8:30 AM–5:30 PM. The field course for both will be Sun., Feb. 12, from 1–4 PM. 3201 Spurgin Rd. Register by following the education links at fwp.mt.gov.

Active outdoor lovers are invited to the Mountain Sports Club's (formerly the Flathead Valley Over the Hill Gang) weekly meeting to talk about being awesome, past glories and upcoming activities. Swan River Inn. 6–8 PM. Free.

Bad news, powder hounds: According to the weather gods, Warren Miller's Like There's No Tomorrow might be the most snow we see for awhile. Boo, but yay for Warren Miller. Wilma Theatre. 8 PM. $12. Tix available at The Trail Head, Rockin Rudy's and Backcountry Racks.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4

Become a regular Jeremiah Johnson during the Montana Natural History Center's Tracking Workshop. Learn to identify and interpret sign as well the ecology of the outdoor world. Meet at MNHC and a bus takes you up to Ovando. 120 Hickory St. 9–4 PM. $65/$60 members. Register at montananaturalist.org.

Prep for the apocalypse by attending Montana Wilderness Association's Basic Winter Tracking Winter Wilderness Walk. Seek out creatures of all sorts and get a bit of exercise, too. Rattlesnake Recreation Area, main parking lot. 10 AM. Call Josh at 386-6381.

Learn how dem critters stay alive in the woods all winter during the Kid's Snow Stomper Program: A Reason to Resist. For kids 4 to 7. Lone Pine State Park. 11–12 PM. $3 per child. Call Mary at 755-2706.

Join a ranger from Lone PIne State Park in Kalispell for a Winter Discovery Snow Shoe Hike. BYOSS or rent a set from the park for $5. Familes with kids 10 and up welcome. 1–2 PM. Call Mary Beth at 755-2706 ext. 2.

MONDAY FEBRUARY 6

At Slacker Mondays, from 6 PM until close, slackline fans can come to Freestone Climbing Center at 935 Toole Ave. to test their balance. $13/$10 for students. Visit freestoneclimbing.com.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 8

Don't be a luddite, learn your 'hood and check out the Clark Fork Coalition's Walks and Talks: A Walking History Tour of Rattlesnake Creek. The event explains the ecology of, and past and present uses of, the Rattlesnake Recreation Area. Snowshoes recommended (The Trail Head will provide pairs). 12–1 PM. Contact Ellie for more info. at 542-0539 ext. 212.

The Rocky Mountaineers invite you to hear outdoor writer and photog Aaron Teasdale speak about his adventures (pirates, perhaps?). The Trail Head, 221 E. Front St. 7 PM. Free. rockymountaineers.com.

Discover how to get native up in your yard during the MT Native Plant Society's Farming with Wildflowers: Lessons Learned Growing Wildflowers for Seed Production. Don't let the title fool you, this is awesome. Columbia Falls. Teakettle Community Hall, 235 Nucleus Ave. 7 PM. Free.

Learn a bit about the weather or beef about the weird-o weather at the Montana Natural History Center's evening lecture Meteorology with Mark Heyka. KECI's weatherman about town delivers the facts, people. 120 Hickory St. 7 PM. $4 suggested donation.

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