Note: It's all about the white stuff this week 

My seasonal clock is all screwy after an early October overnight stay in South Lake Tahoe resulted in a morning under what looked to be about 8 inches of snow. Now, as we head into November, I'm not sure if winter is almost here or if it's almost over. Yep, it's going to be a looong winter with that kind of attitude. Good thing I'll need a looong winter to improve my wanting skills on the mountain.

Although I'm almost exclusively a Bogus devotee when it comes to wintertime play, this week's main feature from Deanna Darr has me considering new destinations. Darr, whose family once owned a mom-and-pop hill in Oregon, pulls the limelight away from the big guys who usually get to hog all the powder glory. In "Home Slope Advantage," Darr highlights the quaint and often quirky smaller mountains around the state, detailing how some of them got their start and how they've managed to keep the lifts running year after year against the larger resorts.

If you're the kind of hill bunny lured less by the pace of a smaller hill than by simple geography, I'll point you in the direction of our annual pull-out mountain guide. It's meant to be tacked onto your fridge, stuffed into your glove box and generally abused throughout the winter so that you can find your way to a mountain armed with all the relevant information--like how much you'll pay for lift tickets, whether riders are welcome and just how many runs and lifts you'll have to play on.

Gear heads: turn to Page 42 for the latest and greatest. And if you're jonesing for a pre-season big screen snow fix, flip to Page 39 for a look at the annual Backcountry Film Festival presented by Winter Wildlands Alliance.

Not wooed one tiny bit by the white stuff? No worries, we've left a few things for you to read in this week's edition. A&E Editor Amy Atkins chatted up the one and only Lily Tomlin recently. Read that story on Page 38. And, as always in our first issue of the month, we've put together the lowdown on First Thursday with comprehensive what-to-do listings, a handy map to help you find your way and a few highlights on what's happening in downtown Boise.

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