Winter Wildland’s Film Festival celebrates ‘human-powered’ winter adventures |

Winter Wildland’s Film Festival celebrates ‘human-powered’ winter adventures

The Winter WildlandÕs 11th annual Backcountry Film Festival, which will be held at the Jim Santy Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 18, will feature nine films about the joys of winter recreation. (Courtesy of the Backcountry Film Festival)

There’s nothing like heading out into the winter wildlands for an adventure without having to worry about snowmobiles running you over.

This is one part of the Winter Wildlands Alliance’s mission. The alliance is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to promoting and preserving winter wildlands and a quality human-powered snow sports experience on public lands.

"We advocate for balanced winter wilderness travel management planning on a national level," said Keili Bell, events and outreach coordinator for Winter Wildlands Alliance.

To raise awareness and funds to maintain that winter paradise, the alliance presents, among other things, the Backcountry Film Festival. Bell, who also serves as the festival’s coordinator, said it’s primarily a celebration.

"What the Backcountry Film Festival does is celebrate human-powered winter adventures," Bell said. "It’s a light-hearted way for a community to come together, get connected and get inspired."

The 11th annual event, which will come to the Jim Santy Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 18, will feature nine short films, and the proceeds from the festival’s Park City stop will benefit the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance.

"We have a grassroots network and Wasatch Backcountry Alliance is one of those organizations in the network," Bell explained.

The films this year are:

  • "Japan by Van," by Sweetgrass Productions. The film is the Best of Festival winner and immerses the audience in the head-deep powder of the Shirakawa backcountry.
  • "Shared Lines," by T-Bar Films. "Shared Lines" is the Best of Grassroots Award winner that features the story of Vermont Backcountry Alliance and their community.
  • "Shifting Ice" by filmmaker Kt Miller. This film, the winner of Best Environmental Message Award, is from an all-women team on a journey at the intersection of scientific exploration and, of course, grueling fun.
  • "The Weight of Winter" by filmmaker Ben Sturgulewski. This film brings the audience a ride to tune in, sit back and enjoy.
  • "I Love Splitboarding" by Right On Brother. "I Love Splitboarding" shares a fresh way to play in the backcountry along with a fresh way of living.
  • "55 Hours in Mexico" by Max Lowe. This film is a tribute to weekend warriors.
  • "Always Above Us" by Sherpas Cinema. This film gives audiences a glimpse of the sacrifice and hardship involved in the life of a climber and is a tribute to David Bridges and Alex Lowe.
  • "Connections" by Dynafit. This film shares the story of the simple low-tech design that changed the face of backcountry skiing.
  • "The Forecaster" by Spindle Productions. Avalanche Forecaster Drew Hardesty leads by example and pays respect to the responsibility that comes with winter backcountry freedom.

    The lineup include both amateur and professional films, Bell said.

    "One of the things that we’re proud of is that we work with these filmmakers and they donate their films to us," she said. "If the film is based on a great story and speaks true to our mission, it will go through a selection process that involves a jury."

    The jury, in turn, selects an array of films that will fill a 90-minute slot.

    "In previous years, we’ve received a maximum of 30 submissions but this year we doubled that and received 60," Bell said. "Some of these films have been seen in Banff and the Telluride film festivals."

    Bell and her staff compile the films onto a DVD and then they hit the road.

    "Local organizations will sign on for a very small price to host the event in their own communities, and all the proceeds from the screenings will go straight back to these organizations," she said. "Annually we raise more than $100,000 that goes back into the communities that host the screenings."

    In addition to the films, representatives of the Winter Wildlands Alliance and the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance will be on hand during the Park City stop to answer any questions.

    The Winter Wildlands Alliance’s Backcountry Film Festival will be hosted by the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., on Thursday, Feb. 18. The screenings will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by visiting . For more information, visit

  • Support Local Journalism

    Support Local Journalism

    Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

    Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

    Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


    Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
    If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

    User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User