Mountain High 

What do I know about the snow this week? It’s getting warmer but not too warm. Yup, come here for the analysis you can’t get anywhere else. Or maybe look to this week’s feature for that and just let me tell you what’s happening.

Snowbowl has started its three-for-two promo, which means you can get a third lift ticket for free if you have two purchased since Monday, March 20, attached to your jacket. So go ahead, be that guy who walks around town with all the old lift tickets attached to his jacket for a couple weeks. And if anybody gives you guff, well, I guess you could explain or maybe just get combative.

If you prefer the untracked, perhaps you should join the New Rocky Mountaineers on their ski and snowshoe trip to Mollman Pass in the Mission Mountains on Sunday, March 26. They say the pass gets abundant snow and is a great place to spend a winter day. It’s probably pretty good in the spring, too. Call 549-4769 to check it out.

With spring comes spring sports. And there’s a whole slew of indicators that the season is shifting. For instance, ladies interested in soccer have a chance to spend some quality time with some quality players when Lady Griz players and coach Neil Sedgewick run a “Beyond the Basics” clinic through Missoula Parks and Rec April 12 through May 24. The deadline for signing up is Wednesday, March 29, and there is a fee associated with the clinic. Wednesday, March 29, is also your last day to sign up for spring soccer leagues, in which you can participate regardless of your ability level or genital equipment. It’s just $75 per seven-person team and they’ll hook you up with a team if you’re without. Call 721-PARK to find out more about what Ghanaians call football and what Missoulians are doing with it.

Running is a big part of soccer, and it’s also a big part of foot racing, an activity taking place on Saturday, March 25, when friends of Arlee High School sponsor the Buttercup Scholarship Run—a fast-as-you-want-to-go race to benefit a group of eager young students who stand to get disbursements from the Friends of Arlee Scholarship Fund. Be at the starting line in time to register for the 10:30 AM start. Call 726-3335 for more information.

Bicycling is something like five times as efficient as walking in terms of what you get out for what you put in. Join the efficiency experts with Missoulians on Bicycles this weekend when they live up to their name once again by executing a pair of 40-mile rides. At 10 AM on Saturday, March 25, the Clinton Ramble departs from Eastgate Plaza and heads, brace yourself, for Clinton; call 728-8262 to ramble on. Or, on Sunday, March 26, head to Victor and pedal to Hamilton and back along back roads, by which I think they mean not Highway 93. It should be a pretty ride; call 777-5120 if you’re interested.

In a number of ways, water sports are the inverse of snow sports. I’m not prepared to pursue that thought much further right now but would be glad to hear your musings on the subject if you can get worked up enough to send me some correspondence that’s neither supplicatory nor critical. In the meantime, just ponder the idea of being strapped into a boat upside down in turbulent water. If it seems upsetting, whitewater kayaking and canoeing are probably not sports for you.

However, if it’s cold water or just a rusty roll that’s keeping you out of the river right now, consider heading to the Missoula Whitewater Association’s Sunday open pool sessions at the YMCA, 3000 Russell St. in Missoula. They are welcoming kayakers and canoeists both from 7 to 9 PM this Sunday, March 26, and each Sunday thereafter through April. Don’t expect any formal instruction or complimentary equipment to be provided, but the water will be warm and the opportunities to wet exit until you get it right nearly limitless. Bring $15, $5 if you are a member or $20 if you want to join up before jumping in, since annual memberships are $15. Call 239-2208 if you’ve got questions. Also, be sure to get there early if you want in, since only so many people can cram into the pool.

Finally, the birds are migrating; at least, that’s the word I get from my sources in the birding community. It’s not like I need Seymour Hersch’s intel network to find out but, hey, I thought you might want to know, particularly since Montana has an especially amazing place to see winged migration in action.

That place is Freezeout Lake, located just south of Choteau, and it’s famous for the hundreds of thousands of birds—snow geese, in particular—who spend the night there just after the spring thaw. They all take off and land in concert at sunrise and sunset, which just fills the skies from what I’ve been told. If you like birds, or just enjoy spectacles of nature, consider taking a timely trip up to Freezeout Lake this week.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

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