Jack Frost rolled out the white carpet for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Boulder last night. No glittering gowns and pressed tuxes walked the carpet but numerous hoodies and puffy jackets adorned attendees. When Banff lands in Boulder you are assured a boisterous evening watching a varied slate of films that inspire, educate, frighten and leave one awestruck at the limits humans will push themselves. Plus ending the first night with a bunch of naked skiers blasting turns in the Canadian Rockies guarantees a chuckle.
Brady Robinson the executive director of the Access Fund, the hosts for the Boulder stop, started the evening off by reminding the sold out crowd Boulder of their reputation as one of the loudest and passionate locals Banff visits. Nancy Hansen from Banff followed introducing lineup and commenting on how convenient it was having a bar located in The Boulder Theater, the tone for the evening was set.
The first half of the evening started off with a rush as Espen Fadnes gave the audience a front row seat to the thrills of wingsuit flying in Split of a Second. The camera allowed you to skim over the landscape at breakneck speeds often only feet off the deck. Sensory Overload by local film maker Robert Raker followed Erik Weihenmayer the blind Everest summiteer as he attempted his newest endeavor, whitewater kayaking. Following Erik in his attempts to run the rapids makes one appreciate the challenges he must face and question your own inner fears. In the movie Erik says that this project is the scariest thing he has ever done and finds himself continually questioning his resolve yet he keeps at it. The movie left you inspired and elicited the loudest cheer of the evening. Ready to Fly the longest film of the night at 58 minutes followed Lindsey Van and the American Woman’s Ski Jumping Team in their decade long battle with the IOC to gain entrance for their sport to the Olympics. Their success in competing in the Sochi games was the result of dogged determination from a cast of characters.
The second part of the evening consisted of 8 films touching on a wide array of topics. The Burn took you through winter skiing in a recently burned forest highlighting the fresh lines and rebirth after catastrophic fires. The film has particular significance in Colorado due to our recent wildfires and continual threat of more conflagrations in the future. Flow: Elements of Freeride was a unique mountain bike ride down a trail with continual schematics showing forces at work; made you think of Bill Nye the Science Guy on single track. Keeper of the Mountains by Vail resident Allison Otto highlighted the life of Miss Elizabeth Hawley the chronicler of all Himalayan ascents. Miss Hawley is a spunky ninety-year-old American who for over sixty years meets with all expeditions to record their exploits. The get-togethers with her are the stuff of legends as this small woman makes even the biggest names in Mountaineering sweat sometimes.
Poor Man’s Heli was a humorous view of Antoine Boisselier who use of a parasail to float across his valley to the Belledonne Mountains in the French Alps to ski instead of Heli-skiing. I AM RED by Peter McBride chronicles the story of the Colorado River and the precarious situation it survives in these days. Spice Girl follows twenty four year old Hazel Findley a Brit who is sending some of the toughest routes in the United Kingdom and abroad. Due to the rotten nature of rock on the isles it requires a lot of “balls” to succeed and her male counterparts agree she has some of the biggest among them. The film chronicles her successful accent of Once Upon a Time a UK A9 route; no woman had ever climbed one before. You will be hearing more of this young lady in the future she is amazing. 35 a thought-provoking short centered on one mans successful attempt to climb thirty-five routes on his thirty-fifth birthday. The message of the film asks the age-old question; what are you doing with your life? The final selection of the night Valhalla is three and a half minutes of numerous male and female skiers and snowboarders shredding the hills in their birthday suits, quite humorous.
The second night of Banff launches tonight hopefully you are in attendance you wont be sorry.