Sunday, May 8

Banff Mountain Film Festival Trip - Canda

It all started with an Instagram post... In the Summer of 2015 I had seen an Osprey contest that was looking for video entrees about "How Nature Inspires You". Grand prize was a trip to the Banff Mountain Film Festival, airfare, screening tickets, lodging, the whole sha-bang. Seemed right up my alley after amassing footage from years of outdoor adventures, along with being a satisfied customer of Osprey long before this opportunity came to be.

Below is the video I submitted after about a week & a half process writing, recording the voice over & editing together some of the most memorable outdoor moments that have inspired myself & friends likewise. Thank you to Jesse for helping with the audio portion & everyone else for letting me put a camera in their face all these years!

A little time past & along came an email one day that set the gears in motion. Grand Prize Winner!

Melissa & I hopped a plane from Burbank at dawn & were touching down in Calgary several hours later. Our first night at the festival was very eventful, starting with the awards ceremony for the book portion of the festival. Which was a perfect introduction b/c we knew what to look for in the coming days on the grounds at The Banff Centre. Following the awards was a conversation with Alex Honnold, world famous free climber, about several of his recent accomplishments, including a film we would see the next night. The evening concluded with a wonderful feature docu-drama called Hadwin's Judgement that I really wish to see a second time.

The next day we walked the downtown area of Banff, had great waffles & headed to a presentation that was being given by Kelly Cordes. He was speaking about his book & the controversial history surrounding mountain climbing on Patagonia's Cerre Torre. We knew nothing of this going into the event & the history nerds in us were blown away. A+ presentation & such a cool story. That afternoon we took a fun hike all along the river that leads out of town to some wonderful views of Mt. Rundle. It was a brisk 32 degrees on a good day.

That night was another double line up. First was a talk with renowned mountain climber Tommy Caldwell along with several screenings of two of the best films of the week. A Line Across the Sky detailing a first traverse of multiple summits in Patagonia over many days. The second being an in depth documentary called Sherpa, about the life & culture of high altitude porters in the Himalaya. Finishing around midnight a very chilly walk back to our hotel rounded out a great day.

The next day we had all open to explore outdoors before the nighttime screenings began. This is also the day that snowed... In our rental car we head up to do some of the planned things we had on the docket. Alas, too much icy snow in many places brought us to "Plan B". Throwing on our hiking gear we set out on one of the few trails we saw on our map & hope for the best. Falling lightly, the snow was so dry & perfect, I had never experienced any kind like it in California. Following along a river we made a large loop & didn't see another soul. Wonderful bliss.

 It was also on this day back at the Festival we I ran into an outdoor filmmaker that I admire from Los Angeles as well. Jason Fitzpatrick was a co-director on the wonderful John Muir Trail documentary Mile Mile & A Half. He & a colleague had a new film in the festival detailing a paddling trip in Alaska, following two genuine lifelong friends.

Another evening of screenings that didn't disappoint. I had picked The Rocky Mountain Traverse specially b/c the adventure sounded too cool not to hear about in person. Two men para-glided the entire length of the Great Divide Trail in Canada (700+ miles). From summit to summit they flew & camped. Outstanding! The film was great, a wonderful crew & the two guys gave enjoyable insight on their experience. Paddle for the North was the last film. A classic story of six guy friends on a 63 day mission paddling in far far far remote North America.

The last day of adventures & screenings was here. Although, the days goal was try something new & different. We had reservations at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, outside Banff. Without gushing too much about how cool this experience was, just do it if you are ever in the area! The Sanctuary is an open space with large areas for "full content wolfdogs" & "low content wolfdog". We got the chance to sit in with all the various wolfdogs & interact, feed & connect with them as much as they wished. 

On our way back into town we stopped for another classic little Banff tourist hike. The hoodoo trail takes you high above the braided river, looking down on weather sculpted sand stones. Forming odd towers sticking out amongst the pines dotting the hillside. 

That same evening, I took a hike to the top of Tunnel Mountain outside the town & Melissa got a chance to hike to the waterfall along the river & get views of the beautiful chalet. A last "whora!" for Banff!

That night was the film awards & the last of the screenings. Eclipse was a ski film I have watched several times since the festival, check it out. Lastly, The Great Alone, an award winning documentary about a come back dogsled racer, overcoming substance abuse & competing in the Iditarod. Marvelous end to the night all around. 

I can't thank Osprey enough for the opportunity & their wonderful support making this memorable experience for Melissa & I.

1 comment:

Enrique Freeque said...

Inspiring post! Congratulations on your win! I'll be checking out many of the documentaries you mentioned.