Anyone who has experienced the feeling of losing footing on a slate hillside knows how quickly one tiny movement can trigger a massive reaction. Anyone who spends any real time in snow knows how a shift in conditions can cause a devastating effect, possibly a fatal avalanche.
But people living in the Wood River Valley have a partner in safety thanks to the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center, an educational resource for public safety. Half its operating budget comes from the nonprofit Friends of the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center. Twenty percent of that funding comes from the Banff Film Festival and accompanying Friends' raffle fundraiser, which takes place Feb. 3 and 4.
"The Banff Film Festival is a wonderful fit for us as it delivers fun, exciting and inspiring, outdoor-active themes that reinforce our appreciation for our public lands," said Lee Melly, treasurer of Friends of the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center and an avid backcountry skier.
The nexStage lobby will feature photos from the annual Banff photo tour contest as well as the 15th annual raffle, which Melly called "the most awesome raffle in town." Prizes include "the latest outdoor gear, great gifts from local businesses and restaurants, and even a Sun Valley Heli Ski Package for two," Melly said.
Some of the proceeds go to the Satipo Kids Project, which funds 34 school-age children from Peru to attend school. This aspect, explained tour organizer Michael Boge, came about because of his connection to the country through his wife.
The festival is an inspiring international film competition featuring the world's best footage on mountain subjects, Boge said. The original festival began in 1976. In 1986, the festival began an outreach program to bring the films to other communities. This is the 12th year it has come to Sun Valley.
This year, along with the festival, the Friends are introducing a new event called Skin It 2 Win It Team Randonee Race on Dollar, which will be held Saturday, Jan. 28, to coincide with the kickoff of the Sun Valley Nordic Festival, Jan. 28 through Feb. 5.
ON SCREEN FOR THE WEEKEND:
Friday, Feb. 3
- "Ski Bums Never Die": What it takes to be a real ski bum from the perspective of a band of skiers in the Whitewater resort in British Columbia.
- "Towers of the Ennedi": Daredevil climbing in the Ennedi Desert of Chad with veteran climber Mark Synnott and rising-star climbers Alex Honnold and James Pearson.
- "Kadoma" (winner of Best Film—Exploration & Adventure): American pro kayakers follow legendary South African kayaker Hendri 'Kadoma' Coetzee into the Democratic Republic of Congo, tragedy included.
- "23 Feet": Three women in search of stories of people who have turned their backs on creature comforts, choosing to live in various small and unusual places.
- "Blue Obsession": Climbing among the ever-changing icefalls of Alaskan glaciers.
- "C.A.R.C.A.": One man's quest to revolutionize the world of animal avalanche rescue, including feline search and rescue.
- "Solitaire" (special edit for the Banff tour): High desert of South America in winter and a handful of drifters combine in a visually stunning film.
- "Hanuman Airlines": Two Nepali adventurers channel the Hindu God of Wind on their mission to launch a paraglider from the highest place on earth, Mount Everest, to sea level using a variety of sports.
Saturday, Feb. 4
- "The Man and the Mammoth": A caveman discovers skiing thanks to his new friendship with a woolly mammoth.
- "The Trail Collector": People collect all kinds of things—stamps, coins, art. This is a collection of mountain biking trails.
- "Chasing Water" (Best Short Mountain Film): Pete McBride, a National Geographic photojournalist, follows the water from his family's Colorado ranch to see where it ends up.
- "Cold" (Grand Prize Winner/Best Film-Climbing): Experience Gasherbrum II in the middle of a deep, dark winter.
- "On the Trail of Genghis Khan: The Last Frontier" (People's Choice Award): Australian adventurer Tim Cope returns to continue an epic journey of historical proportions, joined only by his horse and his dog, Tigon, as they travel from Mongolia to Hungary.
- "Reel Rock: Sketchy Andy": American climber Andy Lewis pushes the limits of slack lining and BASE jumping.
- "All.I.Can: The Short Cut (Best Feature-length Mountain Film): Groundbreaking skiing from Greenland to Chile.
- "Treeverse (Special edit for the Banff tour): Follow two intrepid tree climbers on a pioneering transect through an Oregon White Oak Forest canopy.
- "Seasons: Winter": On the rivers of Idaho, Brian Ward discovers an unexpected and new-found love of water.
Get in on the films:
When: Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4.
Where: nexStage Theatre in Ketchum
Tickets: $13 in advance at Backwoods Mountain Sports, The Elephants Perch and Chapter One Bookstore, all in Ketchum. $15 at the door.