“Peak Obsession,” a film by Bjarne Salen, is playing in the Backcountry Film Festival

Winter Wildlands Alliance just wrapped up a weekend full of events: the world premiere of the 15th Annual Backcountry Film Festival, the Snowball fundraiser for SnowSchool, and the three-day Grassroots Advocacy Conference. In Boise, Idaho, the “Wild Weekend” was a chance to showcase all that happens in the Winter Wildlands Alliance office. But it was also an opportunity to connect people with each other, to share knowledge and experience, and to inspire.

The 15th Annual Backcountry Film Festival will be screening documentaries and ski movies about athletic pursuit in the mountains, artistic vision, friendship, and how the snowsports community is adapting to a changing environment. Premiering in Boise, Idaho, on Friday, Oct 25 at The Egyptian Theatre, the Backcountry Film Festival will be traveling to mountain towns across the country and the world throughout the fall and winter. 

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.


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. 


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. 


Credit on film poster illustrations: Tony Deboom with Endurance Conspiracy

“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 andaccess 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!

More about our recent poster artist, Tony Deboom at Endurance Conspiracy, can be found here:

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


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