Mountain High 

I’m reminded this week of a line from the Beach Boys’ seminal surf ditty, “Surfin’ USA,” in which the background singers are chanting the line “Inside, outside, USA” over and over and over.

I’ve spent some time in Santa Cruz, Calif., so I realize that the terms “inside” and “outside” carry special meaning to the wetsuit set, but in my case, it’s more applicable to our slew of Mountain High features this week.

You see, before we venture outside for our varied winter forays, it’s best to take a page from the Buddha playbook and sit reflectively indoors for a bit. Let’s go to inside, to that place where the entire universe dwells, and then we can go shred the slopes later, brah.    

In light of this year’s hellacious fire season, and taking into account the possibility that the newly-formed Big Sky Coalition might not rid our forests of flame and smoke by next summer, citizens in the Seeley Lake area take matters into their own hands by holding Firewise Community Workshops on Fri., Nov. 9, and Sat., Nov. 10. The events are meant to draw anyone with interest, though elected officials, developers, insurance agents, emergency service personnel and the like are especially targeted. It all goes down at the Mission Bible Fellowship. For a schedule of events and registration, call Allison at 677-3908 or e-mail

Switch interfaces from wildland-urban to dorm-lodge for an inside look at this next one. REI of Missoula will be the destination for slope-loving students of all stripes when they host the Lookout Pass student special pass sale on Fri., Nov. 9. The special offer, which I won’t reveal here but is available for viewing at, goes on all day, and you can call 829-0432 too.

Said special pass offer is in recognition of another luscious blend of indoor and outdoor, namely the debut of Warren Miller’s new ski flick, Playground, at 6:30 and 9:15 PM at the Wilma Theatre on Fri., Nov. 9. Aside from benefiting the Missoula Nordic Ski Club and the Western Central Montana Avalanche Foundation, you’ll also have a crack at winning sweet gear at the raffles held during the screenings. Get your tickets early at REI, Rockin Rudy’s or the Wilma itself.

Of course, I try to find at least one or two outdoor activities each week, so in addition to dragging some freshly-slaughtered carcass from yon woods, try this one on for size: The folks who brought you the Peace Park on Waterworks Hill are asking for help to cut a trail, that native plants might be spared our zealous, peace-filled footfalls. Gather at 9:30 AM on Sat., Nov. 10, at the Waterworks Hill trailhead to help the trail-building effort. The Montana Conservation Corps provides direction and tools, you provide the gloves, sturdy shoes and the hugging arms—the only kind we need, right? Call 543-3955 to register.

Sometimes, it feels like bicycle-automobile peace is as elusive as that in the Middle East, but not if these folks have something to say about it: The Bike/Walk Alliance for Missoula—or BWAM, the noise made when cyclists impact body panels—calls their first public meeting to order after a community dinner at 6:30 PM on Sat., Nov. 10 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. Of course, the food is just a lure. The real reason you’ll attend is to make things better for walking and biking in Missoula, so don’t let the tasty chili distract you. Call Molly at 721-6309.  

Sleep off that beany broth and use the power of flatulence to steam on down the trail the next morning with the Rocky Mountaineers. On Sun., Nov. 11, take part in a six-mile trek in the Rattlesnake Recreation Area’s Sawmill Gulch. Despite the fact that the trails are in the no-hunting zone, the dress code calls for orange anyway. Call Fred at 542-7372. 

We head back inside for more mountains on celluloid—or digital media, rather—with the Banff Festival of Mountain Film at 6 PM on Sun., Nov 11, in UM’s University Theatre. Catch the winning films from the annual festival held in Alberta, which is in Canada, which is the country to our north, which is usually pink on maps. Call 243-2804.

Like I said, this part of the year is about organizing. Runners, bikers and swimmers, and all combinations of the three, will gather in UM’s University Center Ballroom at 7 PM on Mon., Nov, 12, where Team Stampede/Five Valley Velo hold their fall membership meeting in the hopes of convincing new recruits to really push their limits. Pick up three good habits, and visit to prevent an embarrassing faux pas.

Those same Rocky Mountaineers who hauled your gassy corpse up Sawmill Gulch on Sun. want you back: Attend their monthly meeting at 7 PM on Wed., Nov. 14, at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St., where the business portion will be quick and the focus will turn rapidly to a special guest. Michael Kustudia, of the Milltown Redevelopment Working Group and the Clark Fork Technical Assistance Committee, offers his take on the recreational potential inherent in a resuscitated Milltown Dam area.

There you have it. Get your skis shined up, grab a stick of Juicy Fruit, and stay tuned as next week’s massive snowfall leads to an epic season for us all. Dude.
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