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It’s our 14th Annual Festival season and we’re ready to dive deep into the powder with our film line-up announcement! As the backcountry community’s leading film festival, this year will host a variety of films focusing on education, advocacy, diversity, and environment.

Premiering in our hometown of Boise, ID on Saturday, Nov 3 at The Egyptian Theatre, the Backcountry Film Festival will then hit the road through the winter months to over 100 mountain towns around the world. The tour serves as a fundraising and education tool for local grassroots organizations and backcountry communities as well as travels the globe exploring themes connected to Winter Wildlands Alliance’s mission of promoting and preserving winter wildlands and a quality human-powered snowsports experience on public lands.

We’re stoked to announce the following films as part of our 2018-19 production:

Ode to Muir

Teton Gravity Research – Our exclusive Festival cut of Ode To Muir speaks the entire feature-length film as professional snowboarder, adventurer and founder of Protect Our Winters Jeremy Jones joins forces with two-time Olympian Elena Hight to embark on a 40-mile foot-powered expedition deep into California’s John Muir Wilderness.

Ski the Wild West

In 2017 Drew Petersen sought to ski the 11 highest peaks in the American West on one epic road trip. Accompanied by filmmaker and Winter Wildlands Alliance Ambassador, Thomas Woodson, this film is sure to be a pleasant walk down memory lane for anyone who has adventured throughout the West.

The Abbey

DPS Cinematic – A spiritual view into any snowbird’s head waiting for the season to start.

The Backcountry Snowsports Initiative

In this upbeat, Sunday morning op-ed of a short film we learn about the human-powered recreation advocacy organization, the Backcountry Snowsports Initiative, and their annual hut trip near Leadville, Colorado where they host a variety of stakeholders to ski, cook, talk about winter recreation policy

Abandoned

Another exclusive Festival cut focusing on Berthoud Pass, a crew of backcountry skiers set out to explore Colorado’s lost ski areas hopes to find adventure amongst the ruins.

Blue

Blue is a testament to the inherent creativity, innovation and strength forged in women of the north. In it we present a spectacle of winter innovation—the icy playground providing a visual journey as never seen before by bike.

I Am Here

“My parents never even thought about climbing a mountain.” Yesenia grew up living in a small farmer’s cabin in the apple orchards of Oregon’s Hood River Valley. Watch Yesi’s journey to climb Mount St. Helens and pursue her American dream.

Surfer Dan

Beyond the tale of his frosted beard, this is a story about Dan Schetter’s passion for surfing and how he credits the sport to saving his life.

Searching for Christmas Tree

A university teacher looking to break free from a life of routine in China and a mysterious frozen waterfall that no one knows the whereabouts, spins this story of seemingly futile quests and ultimately transcending climb.

Westward: Brennan Lagasse

An important message from Winter Wildlands Alliance Ambassador, educator and athlete, Brennan Lagasse, on the significance and the impact of the backcountry.

We hope to see you this season and Keep Winter Wild together! Email Melinda Quick, Backcountry Film Festival Manager, with any questions about how to see the Festival in your mountain town: mquick@winterwildlands.org.

Adventure with the Winter Wildlands Alliance in our hometown for our first annual “Wild Weekend” Friday, Nov 2 – Saturday, Nov 3, 2018.

Join the Treasure Valley backcountry community as we dive deep into the heart and soul of the winter human-powered experience and raise funds supporting the Alliance’s advocacy and education efforts – both local and national.

4th Annual SnowBall: A Ski Bum Gala

Begin your Wild Weekend dancing the night away at the 4th Annual SnowBall: A Ski Bum Gala on Friday, Nov 2 at 7:00 PM at the Linen Building. Benefitting SnowSchool and our local site at Bogus Basin, this event promises delicious food, drinks, silent/live auction items, and live music provided by Jonathan Warren and the Billy Goats. Event page and tickets here.

14th Annual Backcountry Film Festival World Premiere

After you dance the night away with your fellow ski bums, join us the following evening, Saturday, Nov 3 for the 14th Annual Backcountry Film Festival World Premiere! Climate action, environmental preservation, natural resources, snow culture, and of course, POW SHOTS: you’ll find it all in the award-winning line-up. Films, drinks, raffle and auction prizes galore – this is the traditional event of the winter season you cannot miss! Pre-party at the North Face store in downtown Boise from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM featuring local band, Red Light Challenge. Film Festival doors open at 6:00 PM and films start at 7:00 PM at the Egyptian Theatre. Event page and tickets here.

We can’t wait to see you there! Email info@winterwildlands.org with questions.

By Kerry McClay

While its still technically the “pre-season”, many SnowSchool sites are working hard to train leaders for the coming winter.  This is especially true at sites that rely heavily on volunteer educators, such as Discover Your Forest in Bend OR.  This past week I headed over to Mt Bachelor (the site of DYF’s SnowSchool program) to provide a professional development workshop for 25 staff and volunteer educators.  And while many of the training sessions I provide each year tend to focus on experiential education for elementary students, this training focused on WWA’s unique middle/high school science curriculum.

Of course, we all remember our high school snow science class, right? Yep, didn’t think so.  Even though mountain snow supplies up to 80% of the water in many communities in the western United States, it remains an understudied and overlooked topic. To fill this void we partnered with NASA snow scientists in 2014 to develop a unique curriculum especially for older students based on modern field techniques.  For example, participants in this program calculate snow/water equivalent (the water content of the snow) with density cutters and spring scales (left) and also examine snow crystal morphology with high powered macro-scopes (below). The result has created repeat SnowSchool experiences for middle and high school that builds on their same initial science adventure they completed as elementary school kids.  

This programmatic addition is great fit at a SnowSchool site like Discover Your Forest, which annually engages over 2,000 elementary students from the Bend Oregon area.  Karen Gentry (DYF Education Director) and Bess Ballantine (DYF Education and Stewardship Coordinator) reached out to WWA to request support in developing this program to serve students in their community.  In addition to supplying the SnowSchool curriculum and activity guide, I was able to travel to Bend to provide a free training for the DYF volunteers and educators.  This included a classroom presentation on core concepts and a field day filled with hands-on science based on NASA field techniques!

At this point you may be asking, “Why is NASA involved in snow science?”   And the answer is pretty interesting… Snow science as a field has emerged relatively recently as questions about the Cryosphere (the snow and ice covered areas of the world) have become increasingly important over the past half-century.  Technology innovations have accelerated interest in improving the scientific community’s ability to estimate the water content of certain snow and ice covered areas (such as local watersheds and polar ice caps).  This is becoming increasingly relevant as climate change reduces polar ice and appears to be altering traditional local snowfall patterns.   To reduce our dependence on outdated historical snowpack data trends NASA is developing the capacity to estimate the water content of a snowpack using radar from aircraft (like a helicopter), and eventually from an orbiting satellite.  But accomplishing this goal requires scientists to first improve their knowledge of the snowpack itself.  In January 2014 at the Fraser Experimental Forest the NASA Snow Working Group held its’ first ever field workshop to improve scientists’ knowledge of snow.  Atmospheric scientists, physicists, geologists, engineers, statisticians (and one curriculum specialist!) all spent five days neck deep in the Colorado snow making careful hand tool measurements and gaining a greater appreciation of the complexities of a mountain snowpack.  This field course formed the foundation of the SnowSchool snow science curriculum for middle and high school students.

The purpose of the SnowSchool program has always been to give kids a rich hands-on learning experience that connects them with their local ecosystem.  Exploring their local winter wildlands on snowshoes is fun and helps kids build an emotional connection to the natural world.  By studying the same snow that will eventually supply their homes and communities with water in the spring and summer months, SnowSchool is helping kids create a personal connection with, and interest in, real science.

Kerry McClay, Ed.D. is WWA’s National SnowSchool Director

Contact him at kmcclay@winterwildlands.org for more information

Events

14TH ANNUAL WORLD PREMIERE!

Saturday, Nov 3, 2018

Tickets here!

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Pre-Party feat. Red Light Challenge, beer, and more giveaways at North Face (802 W Idaho St)

6:00 PM: Doors open at The Egyptian Theatre (700 W Main Street)

7:00 PM: Films start at The Egyptian Theatre

The Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival is a celebration of the winter human-powered experience. Across North America this festival is a gathering place of the backcountry snow sports community. Adventure with the local backcountry community into the heart and soul of the winter human-powered experience. Climate action, environmental preservation, natural resources, snow culture, and of course, POW SHOTS: you’ll find it all in the award-winning 14th Annual World Premiere of the Backcountry Film Festival right here in our hometown of Boise, ID! Go to backcountryfilmfestival.org to find complete film program.

Live music, Sierra Nevada beer and other alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks, and tons or raffle prizes provided by our national and local sponsors – get your tickets before we sell out! Raffle and swag giveaways from Sierra Nevada, Clifbar, Outdoor Research, DPS Skis, Flylow, Osprey, YETI Coolers, Native Eyewear, Mountain Khakis, and Big Agnes. Local sponsors to be announced soon!

Want to get even more wild with us? Get a Wild Weekend pass so you have tickets to the Backcountry Film Festival premiere AND SnowBall, a SnowSchool fundraiser featuring live music from Jonathan Warren and the Billy Goats, dancing, food, beer and giveaways on Friday, Nov 2 at 7:00 PM at the Linen Building. Join the community for a weekend celebrating the backcountry, winning raffle and silent auction prizes, sharing some cinematic stoke, and raising funds for local non-profits.

And don’t forget to start at the Pre-Party of the winter season! Join us from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM at The North Face in downtown Boise for a FREE and open to the public event featuring live music from local rockers Red Light Challenge, raffle prizes, beer, and tons of high fives all around! No Festival ticket or Wild Weekend pass required, so bring your friends!

Questions? Email us: info@winterwildlands.org.