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Backcountry film festival features nine new films

February 26th, 2015 Posted in Arts and Life

Local organizations Nordic United and the Utah Conservation Corps will host the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Taggart Student Center auditorium.

Erik Syrstad, a board member of Nordic United who helped coordinate the film festival, hopes the festival will bring awareness to the human-powered winter experience.

“This includes backcountry skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, Nordic skiing and snow-biking,” Syrstad said. “Anything involving the equipment of your choice and good old-fashioned lung and quad power.”

Nine new films will be showcased in the program Thursday night. These films offer action-packed footage of winter sports, but also inspire viewers to overcome challenges said Sean Damitz, a program coordinator for UCC.

One film will showcase a man who has learned to climb and ski backcountry with one leg. Another film presents a skier who challenged the mountain that previously cost him a broken neck.

Although some films portray life-threatening scenarios, Syrstad is confident the other films will motivate viewers to go out and experience the backcountry.

“I challenge anyone to watch these films and not immediately feel the urge to throw on a pair of climbing skins and get out for some human-powered turns,” Syrstad said.

Lindsay Thalacker, a recruiter for the Utah Conservation Corps, said the festival is educational and motivational.

“The film festival should give people the opportunity to learn about backcountry and gain greater appreciation for the nature around us,” Thalacker said.

The WWA Backcountry Film Festival showcases tours all over the United States with multiple non-profit hosts.

This year’s films include “From the Road,” “Afterglow,” “Backcountry Baker,” “Out on a Limb,” “95 to Infinity,” “IRS Traverse,” “Powder Pilgrimage,” “Sundog” and “Higher.”

Nordic United has been hosting the WWA Backcountry Film Festival at USU since 2010.

The film festival is a nonprofit event but donations toward Nordic United will be accepted. Donations will fund local cross-country ski trails in Green Canyon and Sink Hollow. Funds will also sponsor ski mountaineering races at Beaver Mountain, the Cache Regional Overland Winter Backcountry ski Race (CROWBAR) and instructional ski clinics.

Andrew Chen, Kayla Swenson, Conner Rumsey, Aubri Liechty and Sawyer Hemsley contributed to this report.


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