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Backcountry Film Festival Takes Viewers from Chile to the Pacific Northwest
“A Climb for Equality.” CREDIT: Rylo
Sunday, February 16, 2020


“Can’t Ski Vegas.”

Las Vegas might be the last thing you think of when it comes to a night of backcountry ski films.

But the 11-minute film that will be shown at Thursday’s Backcountry Film Festival is as entertaining as a night in Las Vegas. It depicts a group of young men rafting a remote Alaskan river in search of big ski lines during a bachelor party. There’s comically bad skiing on avalanche debris, pond skimming and, eventually, the realization that simply being together is the real meaning behind a bachelor party.

You can see it on Thursday, Feb. 20, when the 15th annual Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival comes to Sun Valley Resort.

The night of oohs and ahhs will start at 7 p.m. at the Sun Valley Opera House. Tickets are $15, available at Backwoods Mountain Sports the Elephant’s Perch and online at

There’ll be a raffle for gear and free giveaways. And the proceeds will benefit the Nordic and Backcountry Skiers Alliance of Idaho, a not-for-profit organization formed to preserve and protect quiet, non-motorized winter recreation experiences for backcountry skiers, track skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers.

In addition to “Can’t Ski Vegas,” this year’s shorts include:

  • “Drawn to High Places,” which focuses on the chaos, power and beauty in mountain artist Nikki Frumkin’s watercolor paintings of the Pacific Northwest’s most dramatic mountain ranges.
  • “Endless Winter: Chapter 1,” which depicts a Norwegian’s endeavor to ski the most with the fewest amount of carbon emissions—a formidable task for a skier who used to travel to the other side of the world in four-engine aircraft.
  • “KHUTRAO, which depicts a group of split-boarders who are guided by their Mapuche friend to the virgin snow-capped mountains of his ancestral lands near Agreste, Chile, where they learn how the Mapuche’s bond with Earth can maintain places untouched for centuries.
  • “Leave Nice Tracks,” which follows Vermonters’ efforts to partner with local and state governments to change backcountry skiing in the northeast by creating sustainable and managed terrain.
  • “Colter,” which follows a group of friends who spend six months following the adventures of pioneer John Colter across the Yellowstone and Tetons.
  • “Backflippers,” which focuses on a group of kids between 13 and 18 years of age who learn about skiing off-piste, reading terrain, performing tricks and safety in a program in the Alps that takes them upside down.
  • “Climate Change in the Kennels,” which depicts how dogs and mushers in Denali National park are seeing the direct results of climate change.
  • “Peak Obsession” follows a young man’s attempt to climb and ski all 50 lines chronicled in the book, “The Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America.”
  • “A Climb for Equality,” which features a young woman’s efforts to boost the percentage of women climbing Mount Everest and the world’s other tallest summits beyond 11 percent.

Doors open at 6 p.m.




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