* PRETTY AS A PICTURE: Some years ago I had the great fortune to ski the backcountry slopes behind the Grand Targhee resort in Wyoming. A number of storms had banked the level of snow nearly chest-high. To ski it was a matter of pointing the tips downhill and floating, arms wide, the wall of powder keeping me upright and in control. The memory of that dream day was marred by a comment made by a local that night at a bar, who replied -- insultingly -- when I said I was from the D.C. area: "Washington sure is a good place to be away from." It stung but was and is way off-target, especially when I think of the films that will be part of the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival to be held Thursday starting at 7 p.m. at the ICC Intercultural Center and Theater at Georgetown University (there are only two East Coast stops on the tour). The event will present an image-rich collection made by outdoor cinematographers that center on mountaineering, indigenous cultures, the environment and outright adventure, including "Mini Golf in the Chugach." Mini golf is an Alaskan helicopter-skiing phrase that describes short and steep runs, which most of us leave to the camera-toting professionals. You can pre-purchase tickets at Hudson Trail Outfitters' nine area stores for $12 ($8 for students with ID) or pay $15 at the door starting at 6 p.m. A portion of the proceeds is earmarked for Georgetown's Outdoor Adventure program.

* ROLL WITH IT: As if you needed a reason to spend the day outside, on Saturday the Appalachian Mountain Club will host a 20-mile bike ride along the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal in Chesapeake City, Md. The trip, which starts at the visitor center at 11:30 a.m., will extend along the mostly flat towpath and will take about 21/2 hours. The event is open to non-members but call Paul and Mary Ann Ray at 410-745-6852 or e-mail pray@dmv.com before you appear. You have to bring your own bike, lunch and water.

* ALL HANDS NEEDED: The Potomac Conservancy is looking for volunteers to help restore a riparian forest buffer along a threatened stream by planting trees and building rain gardens that will reduce runoff from fields and parking lots at Claude Moore Park in Sterling. The event is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; bring good work boots and a lot of water and wear long pants and dependable gloves. For directions, visit www.potomac.org/calendar/index.html. For more information e-mail community action coordinator John Mark Nieman at jmnieman @hotmail.com

-- John Mullen mullenj@washpost.com