Virtual Backcountry Film Festival

     Calling all winter sport enthusiasts and fans of freeing the heel! Get ready to take your stoke levels all the way to 11 while watching this collection of short films highlighting the importance of our winter wildlands. For the 16th annual Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival, FDRD will be going virtual. Watch this incredible collection of short films themed around human-powered experiences in the backcountry from the comfort of your own home.
     The film will become available at 6pm on Thursday, January 7th. Can’t make it then? You will have until 11:45pm on Thursday, January 14th to watch the film series. The cost is $20 for an individual and $40 for a household, and all proceeds benefit Friends of the Dillon Ranger District’s programming. We are also hosting an online auction taking place the same week as the event to raise more funds for our local forest! As much as we will miss being there in person with you all, this gives more people an opportunity to view the films.
     Produced each year as a celebratory, backcountry community event by the Winter Wildlands Alliance, the 16th Annual Backcountry Film Festival film line-up is full of snowy, cinematic adventure sure to inspire both the local backcountry and general communities. While we will not be together in person, this will still be a strong community event.
     Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving winter wildlands and a quality human-powered snowsports experience on public lands. By partnering with groups like Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD) at a local level, the Winter Wildlands Alliance raises funds for these groups and communities through the annual Backcountry Film Festival national tour. All event ticket sales proceeds from this event will benefit FDRD!
     The films will first become available at 6:00pm on Thursday, January 7th, but you will have until 11:45pm on Thursday, January 14th to views the films.
     We will have an online auction running the duration of the festival to fundraise some more! More info to come on this, stay tuned.

Film Line-Up:

Pathfinder: Life Beyond Fear
By Adam Rubin and Dan Lior

Pathfinder is a tale about the human spirit. The film follows six world-class slackliners (Highliners) on a mission deep into the Norwegian mountains to attempt something that’s never been seen before: Walking a thin line, elevated in the vastness between two colossal cliffs, illuminated only by the mystical northern lights. The yearning that drives adventurers and explorers to climb the highest peaks, sail endless oceans, and cross vast deserts in the name of progress, is the same passion that drives these slack-liners to attempt what has still been unclaimed. Through the extreme conditions and endless challenges, we learn about their elemental desire to explore the limits of humankind.

By Brody Leven

This film shouldn’t exist. These iPhone clips were never supposed to be shown. But when your passion is your job and also your enemy, a tough stint can deconstruct life into consecutive losses. Losses that come in so many forms. The unique ways we cope are part of how we justify our responses. For professional skier Brody Leven, a series of losses ultimately steered him to the highest peak in the Republic of Georgia, where a three-week trip led to a one-hour ski descent and ultimately two years of reckoning with himself. When the loss of a role model, partner, job, and identity collide, weak confidence can suffer. The way loss translates to outdoor challenges is where he finds hope.

Float to Ski
By Allie Rood

This is the story of a bunch of river guides and ski bums who dreamt of floating to ski in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. This float to ski expedition took six years of daydreaming before the crew realized no time was a good time to embark in what unfolded as a true adventure of a lifetime. The river still remains the only viable (and machine free) way to access the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The Middle Fork flows through the center of this 2.5-million acre wilderness area, which is the largest contiguous federally managed wilderness in the Lower 48. Similar to the Grand Canyon, only a select group of permit drawers, paying clients and river guides get to float the river each season. Unlike the Grand Canyon, the Middle Fork’s elevation starts around 7000 feet and is free flowing, snow and rain fed for 425 miles until the Salmon River joins with the Snake River.

Last Tracks
By Erik Petersen

After shedding a lifetime of belongings, moving to an assisted living facility with his ailing sweetheart, and now coping with losing his mind, former world-class athlete Alan Jackson, 87, embraces his last tracks, and what remains despite the losses.

By Wesley Walker and Brittney Ziebell

LATITUDE is a poetic short documentary film that follows four daring young women to the 79th parallel, under 700 miles from the North Pole to rediscover themselves amidst Svalbard’s epic arctic ocean sailing, ice mountain climbs, and ski descents. Shelby Dyer, Anna Marno, Brittney Ziebell & Jessica Baker are all former competitive skiers & they revisit what skiing means to them to find a new curiosity and love for a sport they’ve known all their lives.

By Florencia Barrabino

This short experimental film is set on “Patagonia Argentina”. It portrays, in a conceptual, non-narrative way, the harsh climate of the glaciers and the stillness that comes with the first snow of the year. And, as everything in nature, then suddenly, it changes. The sun slowly begins to warm things up again. Animals and people awake to another cycle.

Last Call for Moose Mountain
By Joe Fairbanks

In Northern Minnesota, backcountry skiers are fighting to save their most coveted terrain, which is the site of proposed development by a local ski area.

Awaken [Revelstoke Segment] By SunGod

A Festival cut featuring one segment, this is the story of three groups of winter adventurers, each dedicated to the pursuit of adventure, each loyal to their home playground. Filmed in three iconic winter locations, AWAKEN follows these adventurers as they are faced with the growing impact of climate change, right in their backyard. Contrasting the happiness we draw from the mountains with the harsh reality of an uncertain future, this film reminds us that the environmental message is truly simple; to adventure is to connect with the wild. It is this connection that empowers us to protect these fragile spaces and inspire others to follow.

Wild Space
By Jordan ManleyWild Space

Rocket Scientist, Space Junk Crusader, backcountry and extra-terrestrial Leave No Trace advocate – Natalie Panek uses her passion for space and genius for aerospace robotics to combat pollution in outer space.

Freeride Ski at Home
By Philipp Klein

Just before the current health situation locked us in, the director was about to go Freeriding with his family. It was supposed to be the big adventure of the year, the one he had been eagerly awaiting for a year. Therefore, the lockdown had him thinking about skiing the whole time, so he started to think how he could ski without leaving his living room.

The Classic Route
By Alexis Blaise, Maxime Moulin, Thomas Guerrin, and Hensli Sage

The famous “Vallée Blanche” in Chamonix is an off-piste ski route in the Mont Blanc range. Discover Sam Favret revisiting this classic one with his own style!

The Yellowstone Gateway
By The Conservation League and Uncage the Soul Productions

Three locals from Livingston, Montana, led the effort to permanently protect 30,370 acres at the gateway to Yellowstone National Park from the threat of industrial scale gold mining. Determined to protect the place they love, Conservation Alliance grantee County Environmental Council and more than 400 area businesses came together to form the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition in 2015. Four years later, Congress passed the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act. This area can now continue to exist as an important migration corridor for mule deer and elk, as well as an all-season recreation paradise for visitors and locals alike.