Kids Adventure Games coming to Big Sky, Montana

You know where Big Sky is, right?

No, not Big Sky High School.

Big Sky, Montana, the town that isn’t a town and is located in two counties: Gallatin and Madison. You may know it best by one of its primary attractions: Big Sky Resort.

Later this month, on August 23 (a Saturday), Big Sky will hold the Kids Adventure Games. According to the information I was sent, these games are held at “eight top resort destinations nationwide” and are “the only national outdoor adventure series created specifically for kids.”

Specifically, registration is open to kids ages 6-14.

Here’s the rest of the message I was forwarded, along with a video link!

The Kids Adventure Games builds confidence, promotes teamwork, and is THE most awesome-fun filled-adventure that a kid could have!  We believe in promoting a healthy active lifestyle for kids and expanding their view of what is possible.  Each of the events feature biking and hiking , along with some iconic challenges such as the Zip Line, Cargo nets, and Tarzan Swing.  The courses have all been carefully created for kids by our race director (and renowned adventure racer), Billy Mattison.

As an organization we want to spread the love for the outdoors and help kids challenge themselves in a fun, safe environment.  We also want to create a family friendly event that is inclusive of the community as a whole.  I have attached a video to give you a better idea of who we are and what we do.   I would ask you to get comfortable, turn up the volume, and click here:

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Educator Appreciation Weekend coming up at Big Sky

The snow is still coming down, down, down and the kids at my house are happy to play outside in it all day. Last night Willow rolled a giant snowball down the length of our street. Landon spent hours hard at work with a shovel building some sort of trail that winds through the yard.

The folks at Big Sky Resort want Montana’s educators to plan on spending some snow play time with them. They’re offering another Educator Appreciation Weekend from March 21-25 that includes discounts for teachers and their families. Kids 10 and younger ski free if their families are lodging at the resort, and educators get discounts on lodging and group lessons.


Educators are eligible to receive over 50% discount lodging rates at the slopeside Huntley Lodge, including breakfast, and save 15% on snowsport lessons. Identification of employment for education institution will be required at check in. Kids age ten and younger ski free when lodging with Big Sky Central Reservation properties and have free access with reservations at the Big Sky’s Kids Club.

In conjunction with the Educator Weekend, Saturday, March 22, is Big Sky Resort’s Sunset Saturdays when the Ramcharger chairlift stays open until 5:00pm. Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22, Jerry Joseph & Jack Mormons will be playing at Whiskey Jack’s.

To learn more about the Educator Appreciation Weekend, visit for more information.



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It’s snowing!

At last, the snow is back! And not a moment too soon, either. School doesn’t start up again until Monday and the kids are going stir-crazy.

This is despite the fact that, over the last two weeks, we’ve gone swimming (a couple of times, actually), ice skating (also a couple of times), hiking, built an ice fort (which hasn’t melted to the ground yet, amazingly enough), enjoyed a day of First Night events and so on. We STILL are itching to get out of the house and go play in the snow.

Bring on the sledding and skiing and snowman-making!


This photo was taken this winter but LAST YEAR. Landon built this snow friend all by himself!

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Educators invited to ski for free at Big Sky

For the sixth year, Big Sky Resort is hosting an Educator Appreciation Weekend. It’s Big Sky’s way of saying “thanks for the great job teachers and education assistants do for our children’s futures.”

It’ll be from Dec. 20-22, so that all you educators out there some time to plan for it. Stay at Big Sky on Friday or Saturday night, bring proof of employment at any educational institution, and get a free lift ticket on Saturday and Sunday.

Educators who opt not to stay at the resort can still get a half-priced lift ticket for either day for themselves and their family members. Plus, Big Sky is also extending discounts for educators interested in lessons, base camp activities or rentals.

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Gear, clothing sale at Discovery will benefit Anaconda School Ski Program

What a cool deal. This Sunday, Nov. 24, Discovery Ski Area is hosting a big sale with a big name: The Winter Wonderland Extravaganza.

The sale will feature “gently used” winter clothing, ski and snowboard gear, ice skates and more. Best of all, thanks to a partnership between Disco and the parent-teacher-student association at Anaconda Elementary, all the money made from the sale will be used to help support the Anaconda School Ski Program.

It’s happening from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you ask nicely well in advance, the folks running the sale might let you put some items on consignment.

Here’s some more deets:

All funds generated that day will become the scholarships that cover area students’ enrollment in the program.  Participants will get four full days on the hill, including transportation to and from the ski area, rental equipment, a lift ticket, instruction, and a lunch.

During the sale, Discovery Ski Area’s rental shop and ticket office will be open for picking up season passes or squaring away season rentals. Don’t miss out on the 5-pack lift tickets that will also be available for a special price of only $175!

To make donations ahead of time, please drop them off at any of the Anaconda schools or at Community Hospital of Anaconda.

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Skiers will find new and improved beginner area at Big Sky

It’s almost time for Montana’s ski areas to open for the winter season!

As it prepares for opening day – less than two weeks to go! – Big Sky Resort sent out some information about the recent improvements it’s made to its beginner area.

Over the summer Big Sky redesigned the beginner area to “provide students of all ages the development steps to evolve into lifelong participants of snow sports. The new design eases the learning progression through three surface lifts and the only skill required is standing on a conveyor.”

Photo courtesy of LONNIE BALL

Photo courtesy of LONNIE BALL

Read on:

Absolute beginner children step onto the Small Fry surface lift in a virtually level area, located immediately outside the Snowcrest Lodge Big Sky Mountain Sports School facility.

This Children’s Bowl has added a second, longer, surface lift, called Beehive Basin, to improve the lesson experience for all children in the Big Sky Mountain Sports School program.

A newly purchased surface lift, Middle Basin, was installed this summer and seamlessly links the Children’s Bowl and the Bear Basin surface lift. Bear Basin has been moved to far skiers right adding more ideal beginner terrain, to prepare students for steeper slopes, wider turns, and to graduate to the beginner chairlift. Adult first time skiers and riders learn the fundamentals in a safe and easy environment, learning safety, equipment and how to dress for comfort.

In addition to the Mountain Village, Big Sky Mountain Sports School will also be located at the Madison Base in the Moonlight Basin area offering the same snow sports services.

Big Sky Resort has created one of the finest Snowsports Schools in America with a diverse staff of instructors, all certified by Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA)/American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI), with the goal to help adults or children, groups or private lessons in skiing or snowboard, advance to the Biggest Skiing in America® experience.

The redesign will help guests taking lessons enjoy our entry level terrain with less effort.

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Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation creates new membership category just for kids

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation‘s Elk Country Visitor Center in Missoula has long been a family go-to spot. It’s open year-round, making it a sure thing in any kind of weather. It’s kid-friendly, with interactive exhibits that keep even very young children engaged. And it’s free – if you don’t let yourself get suckered by your kids in the gift shop.

But membership with RMEF has been more the domain of adults – until now. The Foundation just announced that it is launching a new, child-friendly membership category. It’s $20 for an annual youth membership, making it the most wallet-friendly category as well.

Here’s the press release from RMEF in full:

RMEF Launches Youth Membership

MISSOULA, Mont. – In an effort to better promote and protect the present and future of conservation, a love of the outdoors and hunting, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation initiated a new youth membership category.

“We remain committed to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat, and our hunting heritage. And who holds the keys to that future if not our sons and daughters and grandchildren?” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “As far as gifts go, this membership ranks right up there with your first rifle or bow. It will attract, engage and help young hunter-conservationists fall to love with elk, the places they live and the challenge of hunting them.”

The new RMEF Youth Membership costs $20 per year and is designed for girls and boys age 17 and under. It will offer six digital issues of Bugle magazine, e-newsletters, an RMEF hat, a membership card, member discounts and decals. Members will also have access to social media sites specifically designed for them that include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a blog to share their photos and videos. There will also be online contests for outdoor gear and other interactive activities.

Since its founding nearly 30 years ago, RMEF invested in tomorrow’s future by reaching thousands of youth through the sponsorship of quality programs like the National Archery in the Schools Program, 4-H Shooting Sports, state hunter education courses, the Boy Scouts of America, the Future Farmers of America and scores of hunting, shooting, archery, fishing and other outdoor-related camps and programs.

In 2013 alone, RMEF promoted and sponsored more than 200 youth activities and programs across the country and introduced thousands of young and novice shooters to safe, responsible and enjoyable firearm use at nearly 60 SAFE Challenge (Shooting Access for Everyone) events.

“Right now, we’re busy passing on our hopes and dreams and the things we love most to our youth,” said Allen. “Before we know it, though, we’ll be passing on the reins to this next generation of hunters and conservationists. We need to make sure their ranks are strong.”

RMEF welcomes Remington as the first sponsor of the youth membership category.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

RMEF is leading a conservation initiative that protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.3 million acres—an area larger than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and Great Smoky Mountains national parks combined. RMEF also is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. RMEF members, partners and volunteers, working together as Team Elk, are making a difference all across elk country. Join us at or 800-CALL ELK.

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Missoula kids can learn African Drum and dance

Over the weekend I got a note from Tracy Topp of the Drum Brothers and Djebe Bara letting me know she’s offering African drum and dance classes starting this Wednesday, Oct. 10.

The classes are for kids in grades 3-6, and will be held in two separate five-week series at the Barn Movement Studio across from Hawthorne School in Missoula, at 2926 S. 3rd St. W. One series will focus on hand drumming and the other series will be dedicated to dance.

The hand-drumming class will be Wednesdays from 5:30-6:15 p.m. Tracy says that “Students will learn the tones and techniques of West African hand drumming, beginning rhythms, and the fundamentals of rhythm awareness.” Extra drums will be available.

The West African dance classes will be Wednesdays from 6:30-7:15. Tracy explains that “African dance is an earthy, fun, and energetic dancing style that welcomes diverse body types and ability levels. This class will focus on rhythm awareness, balance, and body coordination. Students will learn a repertoire of basic dance steps, and begin to explore traditional West African dances.”

Children may come to classes alone or parents can stay. The cost for single child with or without parent observing is $50 for one five-week series. The cost for a child and parent taking a class together is $80 for the five-week series.

For more information or to sign up, call Tracy at 531-1609 or send an email to You can also find more information on the Drum Brothers website at

And for more information about Tracy Topp, a mom of two super cool boys, read this:

Tracy Topp started her dance training at an early age and has a background in ballet, tap, and jazz. She’s also a student of African, Middle Eastern, and modern dance. Tracy ‘s studied African dance with a number of teachers including Djeneba Sako, Mabiba Baenge, Manimou Camara, and Youssouf Koumbassa, and she’s been teaching African dance for over a decade. When she isn’t moving to the music, Tracy is often playing it. Her interest in African dance emerged from a love of African drumming. She’s been studying hand drumming for the last 14 years with her teacher and life partner, Matthew Marsolek. Tracy regularly performs with Missoula ’s Djebe Bara drum and dance ensemble and occasionally shares the stage with Drum Brothers. Since 2002, she’s been contributing her artistic talents to Drum Brothers with the manufacture of custom frame drums, jewelry, painted drums, and henna art.

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MCT has ‘Glamour and Goop,’ summer camps for kids

Here’s a short list of upcoming opportunities from MCT, Inc.  I note that at least one “try to register by” date has passed, but it’s never too late to call and see if there’s still an open spot. – MM

July 10: “Glamour and Goop”

MCT’s Next Step Prep presents Susan Egan and Georgia Stitt in concert in “Glamour and Goop.” “Glamour and Goop” is a fundraiser to benefit MCT’s Next Step Prep Scholarship Fund. Come join Tony Award nominee Egan and composer-lyricist  Stitt. Egan was nominated for a Tony Award in 1994 for her performance as Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Stitt’s original musicals include Big Red Sun, Sing Me A Happy Song, The Water, and Mosaic.

Next Step Prep is a performing arts boarding school located at the Missoula Children’s Theatre headquarters in Missoula, Montana, offering world-class musical theatre. “Glamour and Goop” takes place Tuesday evening, July 10, with the reception at 6:30 p.m., and the show at 7:30 p.m. Join the artists for light hors d’oeuvres and drinks with entertainment by Next Step Prep students. Gala Tickets $50, includes Reception and Show! “Glamour and Goop” (show only) $20. For tickets: (406) 728-7529 or visit

Missoula Children’s Theatre’s Summer Day Camp and Performances

Summer Days Camps are for children Grades 1-12.  Each camp is M-F 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with performances at 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday (you choose when you register!).  All children participate in an audition, are cast in a role and perform in the show.  MCT accommodates accessibility needs upon request.

Summer Camp #2: July 9-13: ROBIN HOOD.  Please try to register by July 6th at 200 N Adams Street, by calling 728-7529 (PLAY) or visit Performances of ROBIN HOOD take place July 14-15, 3:00 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets go on sale July 9 at 9:00 a.m.

Summer Camp #3: July 23-27: TREASURE ISLAND.  Please try to register by July 20th at 200 N Adams Street, by calling 728-7529 (PLAY) or visit Performances of TREASURE ISLAND take place July 28-29, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets go on sale July 23 at 9 a.m.

For more information, contact MCT, Inc., “Home of Missoula Children’s Theatre and Missoula Community Theatre,” by calling (406) 728-1911 ext. 236, faxing (406) 721-0637 or clicking

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A Halloween party for mermaids, pirates and other water-lovers

My daughter likes to reach for the impossible. For her birthday recently, she asked for a swimming suit “with a real mermaid tail.” Uh huh. I’m still working on that one. Maybe I’ll have something figured out in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, Halloween is coming up and that means it’s time for costumes and parties. Wanna-be mermaids in particular won’t want to miss the upcoming “Splash-O-Ween” party at Currents – which will include a costume contest and other fun activities in addition to open swim.

It’s this Friday (!), Oct. 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The admission cost is $3 for all ages, with a dollar from each admission going to Share The Fun Youth Recreation Grants.

So support a good cause while also enjoying the company of Currents mascot Oscar the Otter (who will pull double duty as the costume contest judge), as well as a “Mad Scientist’s Lab” display, a greased pumpkin contest, musical inner tubes and a pumpkin relay.

Word is that the Crazy Creek Cafe from Splash Montana will also offer concessions for purchase.

For more information about the city’s aquatics programs or the “Splash-o-Ween” party, call 721-PARK.

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