Sunday, December 05, 2010

The trailer for this year's Banff Mountain Film Festival

If the list below isn't quite enough, get a little preview of this year's films, as always with the great voice and inspiring music:

Hey, Christmas is coming and theatre tickets fit really easily into the stocking of your favorite adventure-lover! Get yours today and be taken away to the most enchanting places on earth. Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for students. Folks buying tickets for both shows can exchange their two ticket stubs for a 15% discount on their next purchase of a regularly priced item at Algonquin Outfitters.

Tickets are available at the Algonquin Theatre box office at 37 Main St. E. in beautiful downtown Huntsville, on-line at the Algonquin Theatre web site, or by calling the theatre box office at (705) 789-4975, or 1-888-696-4255, ext. 2352.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The long-awaited film list for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Huntsville

Let me tell you, it was hard picking this year. There were many good films that got left off our list and it would have been no problem planning three evenings of movies. Do you think the people of Huntsville and beyond would support three shows? Let me know by making a comment below. 

In any case, you will find a wide range of subject matter when the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour stops in Huntsville this year, with everything from fly-fishing in Russia, to skiing in Kashmir, to madmen jumping off cliffs, to tragedy and redemption in the mountains, to cute kids on bikes and even a bit of hair growth! Thanks to Seana Strain and Paul Price of the BMFF for their assistance in planning this year's program. Tuesday night has a total of two hours and nine minutes of films and Wednesday is a bit longer, at two hours and 11 minutes. There will be an intermission and great door prizes! Like last year, I have not consciously tried to pick a theme for each night. There may be one but we will have to wait till movie night and see what develops. There are several ski-related films but that was was mostly because there were more ski films in the line-up.

Go to both nights and save! Remember, if you go to both shows and save your ticket stubs, you can receive a one-time discount of 15 % on any regularly priced item at Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville or Oxtongue Lake.

Please note that the films are listed in alphabetical order, NOT in the order they will be shown. There is a slight chance that the film selection may change as new films can still be added to the availability list.

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011. Showtime: 7:30 PM.
Get tickets by clicking here.

AZADI: Freedom

  • Canada, 2010
  • Directed and Produced by Anthony Bonello
  • Classification: General - no advisory
  • Focus: Skiing, Mountain Culture

AZADI: Freedom takes a look at Kashmir in the wake of the violent militant insurgence of the 90s through the lens of skiing. The unique role that skiing is playing in rebuilding tourism in Kashmir is explored using cinematography, animation and story of local characters. The film crew explore the future presented to young Kashmiri as they venture into the mountains, backcountry skiing. The world’s highest skiable gondola sits amid the most militarized region in the world, yet the freedom of adventure is drawing foreigners back to this former Shangri-La. Photocredit: Anthony Bonello, from the film 'AZADI: Freedom' 


  • Canada, 2010,
  • Directed by Dave Mossop
  • Produced by Malcom Sangster
  • Classification: General - no advisory
  • Focus: Skiing
Chimæra refers to a mythological fusion of forms or a foolish fantasy. Shot with a unique camera system capable of shooting over 1000 frames per second, this film slows our perception of reality and offers an unprecedented look at a skier's life. It is an experience that blurs the borders between real and imaginary.

Eastern Rises 

Award at 2010 BMFF: Best Film on Mountain Sports, sponsored by ‘Live out There’

  • USA, 2010
  • Directed by Ben Knight
  • Produced by Travis Rummel
  • Classification: Parental guidance - coarse language
  • Focus: Fly-Fishing, Environment, Culture
The Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East may as well be the end of the earth. Its enormously wild landscape is swarming with bugs and bears and threaded with rivers full of massive mouse-eating trout. In this stunning film, fishing is poetry; Bigfoot lurks in the fog and fishermen risk life and limb in decommissioned Cold War helicopters to explore rivers that have never been fished before. Photocredit: From the film 'Eastern Rises'

Fly or Die

Award at 2010 BMFF: Special Jury Mention

  • USA, 2009
  • Produced by: Nick Rosen and Peter Mortimer
  • Classification: General - coarse language
  • Focus: Rock Climbing, BASE jumping, Free BASE
Cutting edge climber Dean Potter is innovating climbing for the future: the Base Free Solo. By combining free solo climbing and base jumping, Dean is on his quest to master the various disciplines that lead up to this bold evolution of the sport. Photocredit: From the film 'Fly or Die'

Kranked Kids - Just down the Road

  • Canada, 2010
  • Directed and Produced by: Bjørn Enga
  • Classification: General - no advisory
  • Focus: Mountain biking / Humour
A coming-of-age mountain bike parody.

Last Paradise

  • New Zealand, 2010
  • Directed and Produced by: Clive Neeson
  • Classification: General - no advisory
  • Focus: Human Adventure / Extreme Sports: Surfing, Skiing and others
In the remote wilderness of New Zealand, when necessity was the mother of invention, a maverick bunch of kids concocted a dream which they would one day share with the world. Through 45 years of stunning original footage we relive the journey of legendary extreme sports pioneers on the roads less travelled, to paradises which have long since gone. But for one.  Photocredit: From the film 'Last Paradise' 

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011. Showtime: 7:30 PM.
Get tickets by clicking here.

A Life Ascending

Award at 2010 BMFF: Best Film on Mountain Culture, sponsored by Petzl 

Award at 2010 BMFF: People's Choice Award, sponsored by Timex Expedition

  • USA, 2010
  • Directed and Produced by Stephen Grynberg
  • Classification: General – no advisory
  • Focus: Ski Mountaineering, Culture, Human Story
Living with his wife and two young daughters on a remote glacier in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, Ruedi Beglinger has built a reputation as one of the top mountaineering guides in the world. A Life Ascending follows his family’s unique life in the mountains and their journey in the years following a massive avalanche that killed seven people. The film ultimately explores the power of nature as both an unforgiving host and profound teacher. Photocredit: Stephen Grynberg

Life Cycles

  • USA, 2010
  • Directed and Produced by Ryan Gibb and Derek Frankowski
  • Classification: General – no advisory
  • Focus: Mountain Biking
Life Cycles provides some of the most visually stunning images the mountain sports world has ever seen. It’s a beautiful celebration of the bicycle, and is sure to amaze anyone who has ever ridden one. Photocredit: From the film 'Life Cycles'

Rush Hour Dream

  • Germany, 2009
  • Directed and Produced by Kerim Jaspersen and Christian Menn
  • Classification: General – no advisory
  • Focus: Paragliding, Environment
An office worker in Düsseldorf, Germany, falls asleep in the tramway on his way to work and wakes up on a beautiful mountainside to discover that he is carrying a paraglider in his laptop. Photocredit: From the film 'Rush Hour Dream'

Still Motion

  • Canada, 2010
  • Directed and Produced by Jonathan Schmidt
  • Classification: General - no advisory -
  • Focus: Environment / Wildlife
Compiled from the highlights of a whole year of wildlife research, these still images from motion-triggered wildlife cameras to create an intricately sequenced movie-like production of Alberta’s amazing wildlife. Playful fawns, stalking cougars and curious elk take centre stage. The film asks an important question: just who is looking at whom? Photocredit: From the film "Still Motion"

The Longest Way

Award at 2010 BMFF: Best Short Mountain Film, sponsored by Mountain Hardwear

  • Germany, 2009
  • Directed and Produced by: Christoph Rehage
  • Classification: General - no advisory
  • Focus: Human Adventure / Humour
Time lapse of a 1-year-walk from Beijing to Urumqi. Unlimited growth of beard and hair. Photocredit: From the film 'The Longest Way'

The Swiss Machine

  • USA, 2010
  • Produced by: Nick Rosen and Peter Mortimer
  • Classification: Parental Guidance - coarse language
  • Focus: Rock Climbing, Big Wall, Mountaineering
Ueli Steck may be the greatest speed alpinist the world has ever seen. In this film, Ueli tells of his record-breaking ascents in the Alps, accompanied by stunning aerial footage that captures him racing up 8,000 foot alpine faces. When he joins Alex Honnold in Yosemite, Ueli sets his ultimate goal: to take his one-man alpine speed game to the largest, highest walls in the world. Photocredit:
From the film 'The Swiss Machine'


  • USA, 2010
  • Directed and Produced by Anson Fogel
  • Classification: General - no advisory
  • Focus: White-water paddling
When ordinary people share a singular passion, the extraordinary emerges. WildWater is a journey into the mind and soul of white-water, into the places only river runners can go, places of discovery, solitude and risk. It’s a visually stunning feast for the senses, and an expedition into new ideas. Photocredit: From the film "WildWater"

More from the winter wonderland - see what you are missing?

Early morning light on a local pond

Sunrise in the woods - it's a little Group of Sevenish, if I do say so myself

Friday, December 03, 2010

Algonquin Park is in winter wonderland mode!

Don't be standing under this tree when the snow drops!
It is not often that you hear "snow squall warning" and "flood warning" in the weather forecast, but that is what we had earlier this week. After the big snowfall (40 cm in some places) last Friday/Saturday, there was the torrential rain on Tuesday, which washed a lot of the snow away. Then on Wednesday it snowed again, and it is amazing what a difference a little elevation makes. Here in Oxtongue lake there is probably twice as much snow as there is in Huntsville, and I heard a report today that at some higher elevations in Algonquin park, there is up to 18 inches of snow on the ground. Winter is here.

Having said that, the best activity at the moment is still hiking. The ground is very wet, water levels are very high, lakes are very mushy and travel by ski or snowshoes might prove to be more trouble than it is worth. Give it a week or so, we'll get a little more snow, the ground will drain a bit, making a better and more solid base. The weather forecast for the next week is very favourable for firming things up.

All the pictures in this post were taken today, so you can have an idea of what it is like right now. According to some visitors from the south, the snow starts at Gravenhurst!

You might find the trails a little wet...

Oxtongue Lake is about half-frozen
We don't need Christmas lights with colourful kayaks like these
Outfitter Creek is in spring flood mode and the lake is very high