Backcountry Film Festival donations will benefit Bonanza Flats |

Backcountry Film Festival donations will benefit Bonanza Flats

Event will be held Thursday

The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance formed nearly four years ago with a mission to be a voice for the backcountry community involved in human-powered winter recreation in the Central Wasatch Mountains.

The nonprofit is fully run by volunteers and relies on donations and fundraisers to continue its mission.

That’s why it’s grateful to the Winter Wildlands Alliance that packages and offers the annual Backcountry Film Festival for grassroots organizations to use as fundraisers.

This year’s Backcountry Film Festival will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. Tickets are $10 and available by visiting

The first 100 people who buy a ticket to the event will get admission to a pre-festival VIP party hosted by Red Rock Brewery.

“The film festival is designed to celebrate the backcountry and inspire people to, above all, preserve and protect it for its beauty and freedom that it offers,” Kent said. “People go to the backcountry to not only have fun, they go to clear their head and get some exercise.”

The event will include screenings of 11 short films about the backcountry and winter recreation.

The films are:

  • Ben Sturgulewski’s “Reflections”
  • KGB Productions’ “Lifecycle of a Powderwhore”
  • Jason Thompson’s “AK Girls Way”
  • Scott Rulander’s “Snowschool”
  • Joel Wolpert’s “There on the Periphery: Rickey Gates”
  • Mike Shirf’s “An Education”
  •  Dogy Down Films’ “Season on the Brink”
  •  Brody Levin’s “Pace-Pedal to the Peaks”
  •  Colby Elliot’s “The Lost Sierra”
  • Jordan Manley’s “China, a Skier’s Journey”
  • Sindre Kinnerod and Audun Fjeldheim’s “Snowartist”In addition, the event will feature opportunity drawings from various recreational companies, said Jamie Kent, past board president and current board member of the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance.“The items in the drawing are always really good, thanks to Bolle, Black Diamond, Patagonia and Kuhl Clothing,” Kent said. “There are a lot more companies that donated items, and we are appreciative of them for providing us items we can use in the drawings.”

    Some films in this year’s festival have Utah ties.

    Kent said KGB Productions, a company that films a lot the Utah, have “Life of a Powderwhore.”

    And local skier Caroline Gleich is in [Jason Thompson’s] “AK Girls Way,” Kent added.

    One thing Kent wanted to stress is the film festival isn’t an anti-ski resort convention.

    “The thing we want to emphasize is that there is a perfect balance between developed and undeveloped ski areas right now,” he said. “If the resorts expand any more, the balance gets tipped.

    “We continue to support our ski resorts,” Kent said. “We appreciate them and recognize that they are important, and a lot of our users ski at the resorts and have learned how to ski at the resorts. We want to see them thrive, but thrive in their existing boundaries.”

    Preserving the backcountry has become more challenging over the past few years because of the growing popularity of recreational opportunities.

    “It’s one of the fastest growing sectors in the winter market,” Kent said. “You have snowshoeing, split boarding, snow boarding, skiing, cross-country skiing. And then you have everyone from hardcore skiers to people who just want to get out of the valley to a place that has clean air.”

    The money raised during this year’s festival will go toward the acquisition of Bonanza Flats in a $38 million conservation deal. Park City has the option of purchasing the 1,350-acre parcel located at the base of Guardsman Pass.

    “This is exactly what the film festival is designed to do: Inspire and protect,” Kent said. “Since we run totally on volunteers, we don’t have a payroll. So 100 percent of the money we raise will go to Bonanza Flats.”

    The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance currently has just under 2,000 registered members. And people can sign up for memberships by visiting

    “We also have more than 6,500 Facebook followers and nearly 13,000 Instagram followers,” Kent said. “We consider all of those who follow us as supporters.”

    Kent discovered the backcountry in his early teens.

    “I was 13 or 14 and had a Burton Woody snowboard,” he said. “In 1983, we had 4-feet of snow in the foothills. So, every day after school, I would hike up to the top of the foothills and snowboard down. But I guess if you include sledding as human-powered recreation, I started sledding when I was 2. Just knowing the backcountry is there is a great feeling.”

    The Backcountry Film Festival will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Park City Library Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. The festival will also be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, at Brewvies in Salt Lake City. For information and tickets, visit

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