Mountain High 

Maybe I’m just an old calendar editor, but I’m feeling schmaltzy with gratitude for the tidal wave of events this week. Let’s begin with the lessons.

The Missoula Figure Skating Club has got a session of basic & figure skating classes coming up at Glacier Ice Rink; learn to skate beginning this week and keep improving weekly through February. Call 543-LUTZ to find out the schedule and class costs.

Have you resolved to place your life in jeopardy more often in search of thrills this year? Then now is the time to start learning to roll your kayak. You can do that with the help of the Silver Moon Kayak Company, which has arranged to hold kayaking classes at The Summit Pool in Kalispell from January through April. To get a schedule of pool openings and more information, call 752-3794.

You can also get a jumpstart on any pledges to put your health insurance to the test with the help of Big Mountain’s weekly night-racing leagues, which commence Wednesday and Thursday nights beginning at 6:30 PM. To register, show up at the Bierstube beginning at 5 PM or call 862-2911.

Prepare to be sold Nordic ski-waxing supplies! But also expect to learn a thing or three about how to keep your sticks slippery when REI, located at 2230 N. Reserve St., holds a free educational clinic on “Nordic Ski Waxing for Beginners” at 7 PM on Thursday, Jan. 12. Call 829-0432 and toss me one of the free water bottles they’ll be handing out.

Unfortunately, that clinic isn’t in time for the Glacier Glide Freestyle Nordic Race that takes place Sunday, Jan. 8, at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish. The 1K and 3K races start at noon; 5K and 12K racers will start at 1 PM. Call 862-2113 if this sounds like fun to you; the organizers promise it’s a blast for all ages and abilities.

Photos are fun, too. Ben Urey gives a slideshow in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Rattlesnake Wilderness at the Rocky Mountaineers’ Wednesday, Jan. 12, meeting, which begins at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St. The pictures are pretty good; some of them appeared in our photo essay marking the anniversary in October of last year.

A lot of the talk at the Wednesday meeting is likely to be about the Rocky Mountaineers’ Jan. 6–8 trip to Apikuni Mountain in Glacier National Park. This 27-mile excursion departs from the Many Glacier entrance and heads up 4,400 feet before it’s all over. Take some pictures and send me the best, will ya? Call 721-3790 to get in on the trip.

There’s probably some driving involved with this next outdoor idea too, because snowshoeing isn’t something I think anyone’s likely to be doing in McCormick Park anytime soon. Still, the Montana Natural History Center promises a guided family snowshoeing trip, and that means finding snow. Depart with the snow searchers from the Center’s 120 Hickory St. location at 10 AM. Call 327-0405 to register for the trip, which costs $20 for adults or $15 for children under 13, with a $5 discount for members.

Oh, another class! Glacier Country Avalanche Center, which has forever endeared itself to me by labeling the Indy a “rag,” wants me to clue you in about some Level 1 avalanche courses being held Friday, Jan. 6, through Sunday, Jan. 8, in Essex. The “chumps” up at GCAC are certified and professional and hope to extract $150 from you for your training. Call 314-1598 to register or find out info about the Level 2 class at the end of the month. You can also just check back here in a couple weeks.

To have avalanches, you need snow. For that, probably your best bets are in the Flathead and out near Bozeman—unless you can afford a trip to the Alps. That’s because Big Mountain is looking at almost a foot of fresh snow during the first two days of ’06 and Blacktail (be careful Googling that one—I know I’ll be getting a call from the IT department) is reporting nearly the same amount since Sunday. The areas on the other side of the Divide are also looking good, with huge dumps late last week and steady snow to top it off since then. Big Sky is talking about being a couple inches ahead of their all-time record for this time of year and Moonlight Basin has opened all its terrain with powder everywhere. Bridger Bowl did very well last Thursday, Dec. 29, with almost a foot and a half of snow, and has seen a couple of inches a day since.

As far as Snowbowl goes, they’re reporting tons of snow. I had a great time at the summit last week, but getting to the base was pretty rough—icy conditions prevailed. As far as the snow report goes, I don’t know what else to tell you.

Oh yeah, I do. There’s a firsthand report in from staff reporter John S. Adams on conditions at Showdown, which he says are “super duper fun.” It’s over by Great Falls, but with a recommendation like that, how could you afford not to make the drive?

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