Never in the long history of our public lands system has there been such a broad array of serious, systemic threats—political, philosophical, economic and environmental. These are lands we all own together. Lands we all care about and depend on. How can we work together, starting at the grassroots level, to confront these threats, improve our approaches to public land management, improve access for all people, and at the same time ensure the long-term sustainability of natural landscapes and ecosystems?

We believe the first step is to host an inclusive gathering of colleagues, stakeholders and fellow activists to ask hard questions and talk solutions that will inspire and empower people to get involved in their public lands. 

Join us in Boise the last weekend of October for the Wild Weekend, a gathering that will equip you with knowledge and tools, connect you to a network of fellow outdoor enthusiasts and advocates for public lands, and fuel your excitement for the upcoming winter. Wild Weekend encompasses three keystone events: the Grassroots Advocacy Conference featuring keynote speaker James Edward Mills, Backcountry Film Festival World Premiere, and SnowSchool SnowBall. There will be speakers, ski movies, dancing, adventures, panels, and so much more. 

Here’s a rundown of everything we’ve got planned during the Wild Weekend. Choose from the Grassroots Conference, Backcountry Film Festival, SnowBall, or join us for all of it. Register now. 

The flyer for the Grassroots Conference, Wild Weekend, Backcountry Film Festival, and SnowSchool SnowBall

8th Biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference 

October 24-27

Conference: $250

The theme of the conference is Growing Equity in Public Lands, and the goal is to empower as many people as possible to get involved in issues affecting public lands. 

Join policy makers, athletes, grassroots activists, scientists, educators, mountain guides, local elected officials and other recreation and conservation stakeholders and activists from across the country for a weekend full of engaging workshops and discussions on issues important to public lands, winter and sustainable recreation. Get the latest developments in policy and planning issues, share grassroots successes and strategies, meet with public land managers, gain new advocacy tools and spend quality time with colleagues, partners, new friends and allies. Help us find a way forward.

Thursday night’s keynote speaker is James Edward Mills, author of The Adventure Gap. Mills is an award-winning journalist and media producer whose work revolves around outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving, and practices of sustainable living. 

On Friday and Saturday, panels will cover a spectrum of topics that dive right into the heart of the biggest issues facing public lands right now. Sessions include: Planning the Future of Public Lands; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) on Public Lands; The Pros and Cons of the Outdoor Economy; Messaging the Sacred; Collaboration Case Studies; Climate Action; E-Recreation; Recreation and Wildlife; Experiential Education; and Finding Sustainable Funding for Public Lands.

REGISTER NOW.

The Backcountry Film Festival header is displayed during a snow storm

Photo: Dev Seefeldt

15th Annual Backcountry Film Festival World Premiere

October 25, shows at 6:30pm and 9:30pm

Tickets: $20

For 15 years, Winter Wildlands Alliance has pressed play on the Backcountry Film Festival, an event that has raised more than $1.3 million for grassroots groups around the country. Join us for the world premiere, with films showcasing blissful powder turns, alpenglow across the mountains, stories about human-powered pursuits, and people who are passionate about protecting public lands. 

Stoke the vibe before the show or keep it going after a party from 7 to 9pm at The North Face store in downtown Boise, with live music, beer, and more fun. 

Film submissions are currently being accepted. If you have a short film that you’d like to submit to the Backcountry Film Festival, here are our submission guidelines. Stay tuned for the full lineup. 

BUY TICKETS

Two people in white skirts dance in ski boots during the snowball fundraiser for the snowschool

SnowSchool SnowBall 

October 26, 7-11pm

Tickets: $30

Join the Idaho backcountry community for a semi-formal evening to celebrate the upcoming season. There will be live music by the Lonesome Jetboat Ramblers, plus dancing, craft beer, drinks, raffle items, and a food truck. Proceeds go to Winter Wildlands Alliance SnowSchool, an educational program that introduces kids to human-powered winter recreation and teaches them about the snowpack. Each year, SnowSchool works with 35,000 children at 70 sites across the country. 

BUY TICKETS

Credit on film poster illustrations: Tony Deboom

“Nothing brings the solitary backcountry skiers out of the woods like a night of films and beer and community.” —Gus B, from Wenatchee, Washington

Fifteen years ago, the staff at Winter Wildlands Alliance pressed play on a ski movie called Sanctified. It was produced by KGB Productions and Newschoolers, of all places, called it an “environmentally focused, soulful ski film.” That first showing was a true grassroots beginning for the Backcountry Film Festival. One ski movie evolved into a “film night,” and then in 2007, a full-on festival tour with screenings in Salt Lake City, Sun Valley, Steamboat Springs, and Tahoe.

“It grew from a scrappy idea into a national and international tour, bringing together skiers, families, dirtbags, and lovers of winter to celebrate and build community,” says Lana Weber, Community Engagement Coordinator at Idaho Conservation League. Weber used to work for Winter Wildlands, and says the festival was a big part of her world. “I watched my kids grow up alongside the action. They became pros at selling raffle tickets and consumed more Clif Bars than anyone I’ve ever known.”

The Backcountry Film Festival was built on bringing our backcountry community together. We’ve connected audiences to tales of snowy adventures, while also raising money for grassroots causes. Thanks to you, the film festival has raised more than $1.3 million for other grassroots backcountry groups around the country. Last year alone, we raised $190,000 with more than 100 partners around the country. 

“When I found myself hibernating metaphorically from the wild outside, this festival got me excited to get back out there again, the cold be damned.” —Megan G, from Syracuse, New York

If there’s one place of common ground for skiers—well, it’s probably the chairlift or the skin track. But the second best place for skiers to gather is definitely around a screen to watch a ski movie. Whether it’s putting the POW in human powered, or diving into stories about public lands and access to human-powered recreation, we’re still just as happy to press the play button.

“I’m honored to continue carrying the Backcountry Film Festival legacy into its fifteenth season and beyond,” says Melinda Quick, Backcountry Film Festival manager.  “The festival continues to grow, bringing together backcountry communities to celebrate and support their local adventures. Thank you for continuing to believe in the impact of wild winter landscapes and human-powered stories!”

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: We’re still accepting film submissions for the 15th Annual Backcountry Film Festival!

What do you have to say about the Backcountry Film Festival?

  • “Hosting the Backcountry Film Festival has been a fun and effective way to celebrate winter and build community in Mount Shasta. It helps us raise essential funds for our Ski School Program and we look forward to it every year.”  – Jenna K, Mt. Shasta, California
  • “The Backcountry Film Festival is one of our largest fundraisers of the year. It provides an opportunity to increase the visibility of our organization with a target audience that we sometimes have trouble reaching (young adults, athletes, and adults without small children). It has become a most anticipated annual event in our small town.”  – Beth C, Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • “The Festival really fostered that sense of community, a community that shares the love for wild places.” – Jara J, Alma, Colorado
  • “Backcountry Film Festival allows us to bring our community together, not just to watch amazing films, but since we live in a place where we have to go find winter, BCFF creates the enthusiasm to go seek those places out! When we host, we get to support our community non-profit organizations geared towards getting people outside and connected with the beauty of the natural world and provide a fun forum to appreciate what the winter season provides and to inspire attendees to go explore!” – Lindsey B, San Luis Obispo, California
  • “The Backcountry Film Fest is a turn-key method to enhance a sense of community; GBA uses the Film Fest platform as a tool to enter into new markets and introduce itself and WWA to those folks. It is highly effective for that purpose.” – Tyler R, North Conway, New Hampshire

*2018-19 season info

SCREEN FILMS. RAISE FUNDS. KEEP WINTER WILD.

The Backcountry Film Festival is a turn-key fundraising event to raise money and awareness for organizations, backcountry retailers, university clubs, and other groups focused on protecting wild winter landscapes and recreation in their local communities. Hosts use the Backcountry Film Festival as their biggest fundraiser and membership drive of the year!

“Hosting the Backcountry Film Festival has been a fun and effective way to celebrate winter and build community in Mt. Shasta. It helps us raise essential funds for our Ski School Program and we look forward to it every year.”
Jenna K. (Mt. Shasta, OR)

What are the benefits?

  • Raise funds – all proceeds from your event go back to your organization and local backcountry community.
  • Raise awareness – bring attention to your cause or to the Winter Wildlands Alliance cause within your local community. Attendees are current and future members, volunteers, and supporters of your organization, so bring them in for an event that ignites their stoke on winter advocacy at a local and national level!
  • Raise community – make a meaningful impact and bring together all of your social media followers, your email subscribers, your members, and your volunteers to celebrate your local backcountry community. Use the films’ pow shots, inspiring human-powered stories, and “oooh-ahhh!” worthy moments on screen to inspire the current and future supporters of your cause.
“Nothing brings the solitary backcountry skiers out of the woods more than a night of films, beer, and community.”
Gus B. (Wenatchee, WA)

How do I host?

We’ve made it easy for you! We provide the pre-produced film reels via download for free or via DVD/Blu-ray for extra, marketing materials to put your logo and event information on easily, helpful timelines and an event planning guide, and all the support in the world to ensure your event is as successful as possible. By providing a turn-key film festival event, you can focus on connecting with your local backcountry community to raise funds, raise awareness, and have a good time.

  • Step 1 – APPLY to host by emailing your name, host organization information, preferred screening date, venue, and location to Backcountry Film Festival Manager, Melinda Quick: mquick@winterwildlands.org. The screening details can change, but we like to have a basic understanding of the who/what/when/where before asking you to sign your host contract. Additionally, current hosts (aka hosts that have screened in the last season or seasons) have priority in terms of the premiere date within an hour of their location. We will be sure to communicate if you are a new host what options you have and if there are any confirmed screenings in your area already.
  • Step 2 – CONFIRM your screening with the BCFF Manager and you will receive a link to sign the host contract.
  • Step 3 – SIGN the contract, you’ll be invoiced for your host fee (details here) which covers our production costs with creating the Festival, social media coverage of your event on our pages, and ensures our 110% support throughout your planning and event process.
  • Step 4 – ACCESS the Host Media Kit after payment is received, which includes the film download links; marketing materials such as posters, press release templates, and social media content; a copy of the host contract and helpful timelines for planning your screening; and how-to’s for any national sponsor activation opportunities (such as getting Sierra Nevada beers donated for your event!).
  • Step 5 – ORGANIZE and host your screening! In the process, we’re always here to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, ideas, etc.
  • Step 6 – FOLLOW UP with us via our host survey sent to you after your event, which lets us know the successes of your event and provides you the opportunity to give us any feedback on how we can better the host experience. We also require you share attendee information (first name, last name, zip code, email address) so we can add your attendees to our national sweepstakes and send them a one-time follow up email about the Festival and WWA.
  • Step 7 – RELAX and feel great about putting on a stellar community event that benefited your organization locally and the national wild winter community.

Additional Host Opportunities

Photo: Granite Backcountry Alliance

Sierra Nevada – Our incredible sponsors at Sierra Nevada are happy to provide donated beer to your event as a Backcountry Film Festival host! Information on how to do so is included in the Host Media Kit.

Raffle – We provide a small amount of raffle items for ALL hosts and will mail them out to you the month of your event. We encourage you to seek out additional raffle items from local businesses and any national partners you may have outside of our national sponsors (see below).

Local Sponsors – Raise more funds by having local businesses and organizations table at your event, sponsor your event, or donate raffle items to your screening!

National Sponsor On-Site Activation – Sometimes our national sponsors like to get wild and get out there themselves. If they would like to be a part of your event, we will contact you with advance notice to figure out what opportunities there are to have them be involved.

Ready to host?

Email your name, host organization information, preferred screening date, venue, and location to Backcountry Film Festival Manager, Melinda Quick: mquick@winterwildlands.org.

“When I found myself hibernating metaphorically from the wild outside, this festival got me excited to get back out there again, the cold be damned.”

Megan G. (Syracuse, NY)

It’s that time of the year: film submissions are open for the 15th annual Backcountry Film Festival!

Photo credit: Oskar Enander

In the midst of winding down from this past winter’s Festival season and ramping up for our 2019-20 season (our 15th annual one!), we’re getting excited for the soon-to-be flood of film submissions from filmmakers near and far.

Whether you grabbed some sweet shots this winter but haven’t touched them yet, or you are in the editing room right now trying to finish your film from this season, or you’re still buried in snow and want to make the most of it: here are our tips on how to make a great, human-powered, backcountry film.

We hope to see your film submitted for next winter’s Festival season – our official call for films begins on June 19, so get to work filmmakers and mark your calendar now!

Tip #1: What does human-powered mean exactly?

At Winter Wildlands Alliance, we’re a non-profit dedicated to preserving and protecting spaces for human-powered winter recreation.

Human-powered means activity and energy produced from the human body.

Human-powered winter recreation means activities in snow without the use of motorized vehicles. Examples include: skiing, splitboarding, snowshoeing, belly sliding, fat biking, ice climbing, winter river-rafting, ice surfing… the list can go on and on!

Tip #2: Wait, what does backcountry mean?!

We typically define “backcountry” as a sparsely, if at all, inhabited rural area that you would have to trek in to experience solitude, silence, and simplicity. Backcountry experiences often happen on public lands and we encourage you to get familiar with your own backcountry backyard through any of our near-to-you grassroots organizations, SnowSchool sites, or backcountry partners.

Tip #3: What if I don’t have the best gear (or any at all)?

Don’t get caught up on what level of filming gear you may or may not have. We want to see great stories – as do our thousands of audience members each season. The difference between a film shot on a cell phone versus one shot on a very expensive camera is whether or not the story was told well and captivates an audience.

In no way is this a must-have list, but it’s a great place to start if you are thinking about investing in new or additional film gear for all of your backcountry adventures. Many communities have gear you can rent or purchase refurbished from your local camera store, university, or library as well.

Tip #4: How does one safely film in a winter backcountry landscape?

We’ll keep this answer short and sweet: be up-to-date on your avalanche training, take proper backcountry snow gear, plan your route, and consider weight limitations and your personal abilities.

Tip #5: What is and how do you tell a human-powered, backcountry story?

We can’t say it enough: a great human-powered, backcountry story focuses on the human element, not just the scenery. Being able to blend the two intricately and cohesively throughout a timeline that is intentional and effective is a delicate skill.

When thinking about the story you want to tell, start by looking at the people around you or who you are going into the backcountry with (including yourself!). What story is lingering behind and within the snowy adventure? How does the landscape contribute to the story? Has it taken anything away? Has the backcountry or has the human focus of your story been a source of peace or conflict for your local community? What context does the backcountry have in your community? What is unique about the story you’re wanting to tell and why do you want to tell it? Is your film a bunch of killer sends or did you actually send a story with it, too?

If you’re lucky to live somewhere that still has a mountain full of backcountry powder or are about to embark upon a late season trip, consider setting yourself up for cinematic success by packing light and with a story in mind. Preparation is useful and flexibility is key.

And remember – for as much time as you spend behind the camera, make sure to put the camera down every once in a while and enjoy being present in the moment with no cinematic strings attached.

If you’re looking for some backcountry inspiration, check out the film line-ups from our past season here and check out some stillshots from said films below.

Questions? Email us at info@winterwildlands.org.