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Banff Mountain Film Festival Magazine SCANDINAVIA 2017

Harnessing Dog Power La Liste Operation Wild Spirit Doing It Scared

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Banff Mountain Film Festival Scandinavia 2017


Contents BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL MAGAZINE SCANDINAVIA 2017

“There’s a much deeper level where success comes from, and that’s the trust-building, the connection that the mushers have with their dogs.” DOG POWER PG. 6

06 Departments 04 Welcome by Oskar Kihlborg 05 Tour dates

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Features

10 RED film program

Canine Capablity

12 Blue film program

phenomenon of dog powered sports pg. 06

16 Cycling in Morocco 22 Last words

Dog power explores the growing

Where Are They Now? Get an insight into the wild life of climbing trailblazer, Gwen Moffat (Operation Moffat) pg. 14

Cover photo Ines Papert on Senja Island, Norway ©Thomas Senf Top Dog mushers at the IFSS 2015 Dryland World Championships in Canada ©Kale Casey

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Top left Ruin and Rose (Tour Edit) Filmmaker: ©Ben Sturgulewski ©Matchstick Productions Bottom left ©Doing it Scared, ©Matthew Newton

La Liste (Tour Edit) The idea is to do giant slalom on a very exposed face.. pg. 19 Doing It Scared To a climber it’s just the most sensational piece of rock in the world really. pg. 20

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One of the great things that I like about adventures is the feeling of “the world shrinking” to become solely the one square meter that stands directly before me. Whether it’s on a climbing wall or on a mountain bike trail, suddenly all the boring and mundane elements of life disappear. Bills don’t exist. There’s no need to make the bed or iron shirts. The whole world has shrunk into this immediate future, and the only thing that exists is occupying a unique space in my consciousness. This is the opposite to when I was studying film science at Stockholm University and had to write an essay on the 1924 four-hour silent film Greed, which really was a silent film, without any piano accompaniment. Then it was so difficult to maintain the concentration and stop the mind from wandering! A lot has happened since 1924, though the filming of Greed must have been a great adventure, shot among snakes and scorpions in Death Valley, not far from the Pacific Crest Trail where Packing it Out was made. This film screened at Banff Mountain Film Festival, is about two guys with combed beards who are cleaning up trash as they trek along the trail. Great characters! They’d fit in as part of the crowd at this film festival, which is now shown in 40 countries by local hosts and has more than 500 000 visitors worldwide. The festival has become an annual tradition and meeting point for a mixed crowd of young and old outdoor-enthusiasts. To meet all those hardcore ski bums, agile climbers, bearded surfers and, of course, the armchair adventurers in the audience, is as interesting as watching the films themselves. It is a golden opportunity to meet old and new friends and also a source of inspiration for new adventures. To me this is what the festival is all about. Inspiration. I get incredibly inspired when I watch the Nepalese runner Mira during her first international competition in the Skyrunning World Championship. And who doesn’t get inspired by the French guys in Metronomic? It is also great to see that there won’t be any lack of adventurers in the future. A good example of this is Ashima Shiraishi and Kai Lightner in Young Guns where they take the climbing to new levels. As an old film buff, I get even more inspired by the beautiful footage and the fantastic edit of The Great Siberian Traverse, which is a beautifully produced ski film from Sherpas Cinema. As a devoted cyclist I also take inspiration from Danny MacAskill in the film Wee Day Out. You might already have seen this film on the internet, but it is a totally different feeling to sink down into a cinema armchair and become completely entwined with the adventure, together with hundreds of others in the audience. The whole world shrinks and all that matters, is what’s on the big screen in front of you. All the boredom disappears... Oskar Kihlborg

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About Oskar Kihlborg: In 1990 Oskar climbed Mount Everest, and 1994 he became the first Scandinavian person on the fourth highest mountain in the world, Lhotse (8516 meters above sea level). Furthermore, Oskar has been on four other Himalaya expeditions including K2. He has climbed in South America, Europe, Alaska, and Asia, and lately Oskar has guided several successful trekking expeditions to Kilimanjaro. Throughout his adventurous life Oskar Kihlborg has accepted great challenges, including three times sailing across the Atlantic. He has taken part in wreck diving expeditions, produced documentaries, dived with great whites, paraglided in the Sahara, and rowed a boat from Stockholm to Åbo in Finland. Moreover, Oskar has ridden a longboard from Stockholm to Gothenburg, paddled an SUP from Visby to Stockholm, and cycled on a unicycle from the Swedish capital to Enköping...

A couple of years ago Oskar Kihlborg was the moderator of the Swedish Television expedition programme Mot alla odds. Additionally Oskar is a professional photographer and has followed the major sailing races around the world for ten years. When Oskar Kihlborg´s radio programme Sommar i P1 was broadcasted it had the most listeners in 2014. You can listen to it here:

www.sr.se www.kihlborg.se


Banff Mountain Film Festival Scandinavian 2017 → April

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STORULVÅN, FJÄLLFEST, SWEDEN

May

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HÖGA KUSTEN, UTEFEST SWEDEN

Sept Sept

11,12,13 Sept

KØPENHAVN, DENMARK

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LUND SWEDEN

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MALMÖ SWEDEN

Sept Sept

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2,3 Oct

9,10,11,12 Oct

16 Oct 19

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STOCKHOLM SWEDEN

GÖTEBORG SWEDEN

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Supporting Partners:

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Presenting partners

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FILM FEATURE → DOG POWER

Canine Capability The greatest love of all

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By Louise Healy

Have you ever heard of canicross, scooterjoring or skijoring? Enter Dog Power, the heart-melting story about cross country running with dogs (canicross), biking with dogs (scooterjoring) and skijoring (you guessed it, skiing with dogs… and, well, sometimes horses too). first sight, to have that stomach feeling, instead of taking the one that’s supposed to be good. You can achieve a lot more with a dog that you really love.” As Casey explores the evolution of dogpowered sports in Europe, one story stands out: that of Taina Teräs, a Swedish adaptive musher. In 1996, while competing for Sweden in an eight-dog race, Teräs fell off her sled. The fall broke her back, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. She had to give »

↑ Adaptive musher Taina Teräs and her four dog team in Sweden. ← Kale Casey with his dogs at the 2013 Chugiak race. ←← An Alaskan Husky at the 2015 IFSS Winter World Championships

opposite: ©jordan schevene; left: ©anchorage skijor club; top: ©Joakim Blomkvist

DOG POWER is a movie that chronicles the growing popularity of dog-powered sports on dirt and snow (called dog mushing) and, in the process, the intimate bond that is fostered between dogs and their owners. It is also about how one man, Kale Casey, decided it was time the world knew a bit more about the sport. “There is no sport like it because these dogs are like family,” says Casey, brimming with enthusiasm. “Others have described it as being ‘like living, breathing, moving art’.” What started as a quest to document Casey’s own foray into the sport transformed into a story about the powerful, magnetic connection between humans and their canine counterparts. “No matter what you do the dogs love you anyway, they are always so happy and we need that,” remarks 23-time gold medal Norwegian dog mushing champion, Lena Boysen-Hillestad. “That’s why it’s really important to pick a puppy you love from

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“For a long time I didn’t know what the magic ingredient was, it’s actually all about having fun with your dogs,” he muses. “There is a much deeper level where success comes from, and that’s the trust-building the connection that the mushers have with their dogs.” Casey’s deeper passion is to inspire and

“There is no sport like it…it’s ‘like living, breathing, moving art’.” they are everything for me. I have built my life around them.” Teräs now competes in adaptive races. She talks with passion about getting out into the woods with her dogs. For her the freedom is so intense, it’s like she never had the life-altering accident. “It’s a chilling moment when you realize, I can still do that. It’s a wonderful feeling,” she says, welling up. Speaking from a diner in Alaska (Casey was on the road again, spreading the word about Dog Power), he admits that, just like Teräs, the secret to success is a simple one: having that strong, “heart connection” with your dog.

Dog mushers in the one dog, 15km race for the 2015 IFSS Winter World Championships in Germany.

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help train the next generation of dog lovers. He believes that the bond between people and dogs is one of the most powerful there is in this world. “Every musher I meet has meaningful relationships with their dogs,” he says. “By playing, training and competing together dogs and their human companions form an incredible bond.” “You have to go with that heart connection to your dog because if you don’t have love for that dog you will not be successful. It’s not a motorcycle you’re buying, it’s a companion. And that’s advice for life.”

↑ Competitors at the IFSS 2015 Dryland World Championships in Quebec, Canada.

↑↑ A British dryland mushing competitor with her dog.

top to bottom: © kale casey; ©jordan schevene; © maximilian eckmann

FILM FEATURE

→ DOG POWER

up both her dogs and dog racing, which left her in a state of deep depression. A dog mushing friend gave her a puppy to cheer her up. It changed her life. “What would my life be otherwise? I don’t know…maybe I would be dead because I was so depressed after my accident,” says Teräs. “But my dogs saved my life,


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RED program

DreamRide

Enter a dream world where the trail never ends. Where the promise of joy and freedom exists around each bend. Take a trip through beautiful landscapes and join us on this Dream Ride, a mountain bike adventure unlike any other.’ This film allows rider Mike Hopkins to make his dream become reality, and gives him a chance to show off the real character of a bike. Five minutes of mountain biking magic. Filmmakers: ©Lacy Kemp, Ryan Gibb, 5 minutes. Photo: DreamRide ©Bruno Long.

Mira Growing up in a remote mountain village in Nepal, Mira Rai always dreamt of being a successful sportswoman, despite all the challenges that she and other Nepali girls face. Out of money and about to abandon her dream, a last-minute decision to enter a local 50km race shows that her tough mountain village upbringing, plus a stint in the Maoist army, prepared her perfectly for the hardy sport of mountain running. Filmmakers: ©Lloyd Belcher, 42 minutes

Ruin and Rose (Tour Edit)

“Follow these talented freeskiers as they tackle very different terrain in search of gorgeous jumps in Whistler and big lines in Alaska.”

Filmmakers: ©Ben Sturgulewski, 11 minutes Photo: Ruin and Rose ©Matchstick Productions

Not2Bad (Tour Edit) This film features some hard core athletes showing their skills. Among the riders, there are the world elite in; Slopestyle-, Joyride-, Rampage-, Downhill-, X-games-, Freeride-, Cross Country- and Mountain Biking. The crew behind unReal and NotBad, bring you more wild shenanigans, gnarly trail shredding and unbelievable bike riding, this time in Spain.

DOING IT SCARED

Filmmakers: ©Anthill Films, 7 minutes Photo: Not2Bad ©Haruki Noguchi

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Eighteen years after a catastrophic accident left him partially paralysed, climber Paul Pritchard returns to the Totem Pole in Tasmania to find out if he has recovered enough to finish the climb. This is a film about an extraordinary man on an inspiring journey, his continuing recovery from a crushing injury and the never-waning desire for adventure. It’s a film about determination and acceptance,patience and humility, grace, and ultimately, freedom. A reminder that disabled never means unable. Filmmakers: ©Catherine Pettman , 11 minutes Photo: ©Matthew Newton


The Accord The surfers in Iceland are seriously on their own, both in and out of the water. This film might give you a hint why, or not. Being so far removed from the hustle and bustle of the tropical surf world hardens Iceland’s surfers to confront the the harsh reality they all must face – that old and unforgiving North Atlantic wind. Filmmaker: © RC Cone, 19 minutes Photo: ©The Accord

Metronomic

(Tour Edit)

High above the Gorges du Verdon in France, a skilful blend of musicians, aerial dancers and a group of daredevils known as the Flying Frenchies play a symphony devoted to risk. The artists, little accustomed to such hair-raising exposure, dive head-first into the most extreme situations that the Flying Frenchies can imagine. The result is an anthem to the void, which finds its groove somewhere between performance and poetry. Filmmaker: ©Vladimir Cellier, 5 minutes Photo: ©Metronomic

Poumaka With hopes of summiting the elusive Poumaka Tower, American bouldering champion Angie Payne leaves everything she knows behind as she ventures deep into the French Polynesian jungle with veteran climber and explorer Mike Libecki. Filmmakers Andy Mann and Keith Ladzinski had worked in some of the most brutal conditions earth has to offer, but Poumaka was a new kind of suffering that neither one of them had endured before. Filmmakers: ©Andy Mann, Keith Ladzinski, 15 minutes Photo: Poumaka ©Keith Ladzinski

Iran: A Skier’s Journey Although they were warned not to travel to Iran, skiers Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots decided to go anyway and were blown away by the friendly people and super cool ski culture. The filmmaker Jordan Manley says “The people of Iran were some of the kindest, most hospitable people we met anywhere during our 4 season series about travelling the globe skiing. Each day on our 3 week trip, without fail, we were approached by people in public, welcoming us, asking us what had brought us to Iran, and expressing happiness that we had come.” Filmmakers: ©Jordan Manley, 12 minutes Photo: Iran A Skiers Journey ©Jordan Manley

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Dog Power (Tour Edit)

A rare insight into the world of dog-powered sports and the special bond that forms between dogs and their humans. Wannabe musher Kale Casey buys an eight-week-old Siberian Husky called Misty, determined to become a skijor champion. It soon becomes clear that Misty has other ideas... but by then Kale is fascinated by the diverse group of dogs and humans who train, play and race together in the ultimate manifestation of the human/animal bond. You’ll never look at your pooch the same way again! Film Maker: ©Kale Casey, Jordan Schevene, 25 min Photo: Right ©Anchorage Skijor Club Photo: Left ©Jordan Schevene

The Great Siberian Traverse Packing It Out Seth Orme and Paul Twedt from the “Packing It Out” crew, carried out 500kg of garbage during their 4.5 month trek along the Appalachian Trail. They are two cheerful guys that try to inspire everyone to keep the nature clean. This film was made on their subsequent mission, a 4280km trek along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Join the skiers Ingrid Backstrom, Callum Petit and Nick Martini, during their epic ski adventure of a lifetime, a 1200-kilometre journey through Russia, along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Come with them as they stumble upon a fringe backcountry skiing community, indulge deep Siberian powder, and discover skiing’s ancient origins.

Filmmaker: ©Colin Arisman and Luke Kantola, 4 minutes Photo: Packing It Out ©Colin Arisman

Filmmaker: ©Malcolm Sangster, 27 minutes Photo: Great Siberian Traverse ©Mason Mashon

La Liste (Tour Edit)

BLUE

program

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When Swiss skier Jérémie Heitz announced he would conquer a list of the gnarliest, steepest skiing descents in the Alps, people thought he was mad. Many of these faces had only been skied once and never tackled again because the slightest mistake would have terrible consequences. But not only was Heitz determined, he went a step further. Known for his fast, fluid freeriding, he sets out to transfer this speedy approach to the unforgivable inclines. Filmmaker: ©Guido Perrini, 14 minutes Photo: La Liste ©Guido Perrini


Fast Forward

(Tour Edit)

The bikepacker and ultra-long-distance racer Lael Wilcox, has a determination and a will power that few persons can match. Follow her progress along the rugged 1280 km long Arizona Trail that stretches south from Utah to Mexico - a desert singletrack challenge unlike any other. Filmmaker: ©Anna Callaghan, 8 min Photo: Fast Forward ©Nick Carman

Give me Five

Arnaud Longobardi is thought to be the first person to fly directly into the cabin of a moving cable car, 150m above the French Alps. How can he top that? You’re about to find out...In Give Me Five, Arnaud teams up with a similarly madcap group of French free falling flyers as they try to perform the aerial stunt of a lifetime in the Chamonix valley. Hold on tight! Filmmaker: ©Arnaud Longobardi,11 minutes Photo: GiveMeFive ©StephanGautier

YOUNG GUNS Meet the new faces of climbing: 15-year-old Ashima Shiraishi and 16-year-old Kai Lightner. In Norway, Kai takes on one of the largest caves in Europe, a sprawling granite cathedral with 260ft of overhanging climbing. And in Japan, Ashima attempts a massive granite boulder via a fierce boulder problem called Horizons. If she succeeds she will become the first woman, and youngest person, to climb the cutting-edge grade of V15... Filmmakers: ©Sender Films, 27 minutes Photo: Ashima Shiraishi Japan ©Brett Lowell

DANNY MACASKILL’S WEE DAY OUT

“Good news dirt babies, the Solstice is here, and you know what that means — mother nature is open late and looking to party. So go forth and get filthy, breathe heavy, and for the love of all that’s holy, squeeze the day ‘till it pushes back.” That’s the thinking behind Max Your Days, filmed during summer solstice on Canada’s West Coast, where the possibilities are endless. Make the most of every minute!

Want to see what pro trials cyclist Danny MacAskill does on his day off? Explore the rural landscape around Edinburgh in a film that sets out to capture the simple fun of a ride in the country, with moments of incredible riding and a touch of humour. Tricks include riding over a cottage (as you do) and disappearing into a puddle... And keep an eye out for a cameo from Danny’s dad, Peter Filmmakers: ©Stu Thomson, 6 min) Photo: DM Wee Day Out ©Fred Murray

MAX YOUR DAYS

Filmmakers:©Malcolm Sangster, 4 minutes Photo: Max Your Days ©Leo Hoorn

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? → CLAIRE CARTER

Gwen Moffat in her heyday doing what she did best.

Operation Wild Spirit

How Operation Moffat director Claire Carter continues to retrace legendary climber Gwen Moffat’s footsteps BY DEVON MURPHY

E

VEN AFTER HER FILM Operation Moffat has toured the globe, Claire Carter is still retracing Gwen Moffat’s footsteps. In the film, inspired by the life of Britain’s first female mountain guide and all-around adventure junkie, Gwen Moffat, Carter and fellow director Jen Randall follow some of the now-92-year-old’s U.K. climbing routes, and embody Gwen’s wild spirit by learning to live in the moment. Since receiving a Special Jury Mention at

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Banff Mountain Film Festival Scandinavia 2017

the 2015 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Operation Moffat has gone on to win 15 international awards and has travelled around the globe on the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. But Carter didn’t quite feel she was finished with Gwen or her story. “Jen and I made something that resonated with people, we told a very 20 minute version of Gwen’s life and there’s a huge amount more to what happened to her,” says Carter.

In order to paint a fuller picture and get closer to the truth, Carter recently embarked on another Gwen-inspired adventure — following the mountain legend’s 1970s trip through the deserts of the United States. “It seemed to me like a really perfect opportunity to explore the other sides of Gwen’s life,” says Carter. So in true Moffat style, Claire decided to live out of her truck, camp under the stars, hike, swim, and bike as she drove through Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, just as Gwen had done decades earlier. “I think when I made Operation Moffat I didn’t feel very much like Gwen,” admits Carter. “I didn’t think I had any of her qualities. And then, doing the trip and spending that time alone, while I found it very challenging, I also found it very rewarding. I think I realized that I do share some of those characteristics. “I remember feeling


photo © daniel breece

FIVE AMAZING FACTS ABOUT GWEN MOFFAT Claire Carter, Gwen Moffat and co-director Jen Randall at the Kendal Mountain Festival.

Gwen climbing in style in the U.K.

Gwen Moffat in Operation Moffat .

like, ‘okay, well, this is it then. This is actually going to be really what it was like for Gwen’.” Carter is quick to admit that Gwen is still the more rugged of the pair, though. Carter kept in touch with Gwen as she retraced her desert footsteps, letting her know she was roughing it, sleeping in her truck in the middle of this unknown landscape. “She wasn’t impressed at all. She was just like. ‘Get out of the truck, why are you in the truck?’” After that, Claire slept outside. Claire Carter will continue to spread the gospel of Moffat by writing about their parallel desert journeys for Alpinist. She just hopes the stories of this mountain legend will continue to inspire others to follow their passions as well. “I think we’re all a bit like Gwen, we just don’t get the opportunity to realize it.”

1. She was Britain’s first female mountain guide Gwen worked many odd jobs in order to make ends meet for herself and her daughter. She was a chambermaid, schooner helmsman, and artist’s model before she decided to try and make money doing what she did best: climbing. She signed up to be a mountain guide, making her the first female mountain guide in Britain. In 2015 she was made an honourary member of the British Mountaineering Council. 2. She’s famous for barefoot climbing Never one to do things the usual way, Gwen climbed barefoot a lot of the time. At first, it was because she couldn’t afford the boots, but it soon became a part of her style. In the movie Operation Moffat she says she prefers the barefoot way because “Your feet are hot and sweaty so they cling like limpets. You sort of adhere.” 3. She’s a successful novelist Aside from her bestselling autobiography, Space Below My Feet, Gwen’s written almost 40 books, mostly mystery-thrillers.

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4. She trained mountain rescuers in the RAF Gwen was enlisted to train airmen who joined the Mountain Rescue team of the Royal Air Force. Her book, Two Star Red chronicled the trials and tribulations of post-war alpine recovery efforts. 5. She went AWOL from the army Gwen’s love affair with the mountains began in 1946 when she was a driver in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British army. One day she met a conscientious objector who would introduce her to climbing. At 21, she became obsessed with the sport, and defected from the army in order to live in the mountains.

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JOIN US IN MOROCCO! NOVEMBER 11 th 2017

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Cycling in

CYCLING IN MOROCCO

→ TEXT & PHOTO © DANIEL BREECE

Morocco

I

know you have been there, gazing out over seemingly untouched mountains where the hills seem to roll out into eternity and wondered if those hills might harbour trails and singletrack possibilities…

“I know you have been there, gazing out over seemingly untouched mountains where the hills seem to roll out into eternity and wondered if those hills might harbour trails and singletrack possibilities…

I leave our Riad in Marrakesh and walk through through narrow alleys aiming for the main square. A square far removed from barren benches, cultural emptiness and banned street musicians. Jemaa el-Fnaa is a legendary place- a busy and vibrant melting pot of colour, music and smells that is almost worth the trip in itself. A fantasy vision of North African exotica full of music, storytelling, fortune tellers, snake charmers and full-on thirst for commerce. I’m fascinated by how little has changed in the ten years that have passed since my last visit. The freshly squeezed orange juice might cost a few cents more but otherwise it’s largely unchanged, except for the slightly hipper feel to it all. But although urban escapades in all their glory have a time and a place, I’m not here to hang out with French hipsters or splurge on home interior. This time Morocco has something else up it’s sleeve and on a clear day its visible from Marrakesh: The Atlas Mountains. The mountain range that cuts right across North Africa, from Morocco, through Algeria over to Tunisia.

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The day is still clear and pleasantly warm when we set off towards the mountains. After readying our bikes, we start a steep climb through a village where the adhan, the Islamic call to worship, adds some extra flavour to our sequential pushbiking. Friendly children from the village accompany us and some insist on helping us out, obviously with hopes of candy or

coins. Soon we get our first view of the lower Atlas and its unfolding hills and valleys, dimly veiled in a beautiful haze. A mellow trail, a mule path, takes us down between fields and through villages but as we approach the village of Tinzert the increasingly technical trail demands our full attention. Since we have no intention of faceplanting a ploughed field lined with muledroppings, we have to ride carefully and pick the right line amidst the furrows.


This is our first taste of what’s to come. The villages here are still home to a vibrant Berber culture and many are only connected to the outside world by these mule paths. For centuries these tracks have been trampled by pack animals and they still have a key role in the infrastructure of this mountain community. The paths will change character throughout the week. Sometimes they are wide, smooth and delicate. Sometimes, perhaps primarily as we approach the villages, they are considerably worn and tricky - incredibly fun if you have the technique, skill and courage to ride them. The mountainous landscape is a display of deep gorges and rocky cliffs. In the midst of it all the ochre villages blend in completely with the natural environment. Our main base during the coming week is a small lodge near the village of Ouirgane which offers a swimming pool that is as cold as the beer, but the generous dinners, hot showers and open fires are a welcome luxury, now that winter is approaching. The following day we drive uphill for nearly an hour, passing the trekking hub of Imlil to the pass of Tizi n’Tamartert at over 2000 meters altitude. Rising above us is the snowcapped Toubkal massive, crowned by a 4167m peak, North Africa’s highest point. We are now deep in the Atlas Mountains. A blue sky is resting on the mountains and autumn trees glimmer in the sun. Everything blends harmoniously, the houses in the villages the sand and stones.

Our main base during the coming week is a small lodge near the village of Ouirgane which offers a swimming pool that is as cold as the beer, but the generous dinners, hot showers and open fires are a welcome luxury, now that winter is approaching.

We are a mixed bunch; Swedes, Britons, Germans and Australians. In the lead is our guide Jon Bawn. Perhaps because it’s beyond the harvest season, or perhaps because winter is coming, there are few others on these well-worn and ancient paths. We ride a rough trail that takes us down a deep valley. Sometimes the trail is fairly exposed and the slight risk of falling requires its share of balancing skills. We have a support jeep that waits for us at road crossings and keeps an eye on us from a distance. Part of me can not help to think that there is something absurd about it. When would you ever have a jeep following when you are biking at home? But I surrender at the first lunch. We pause at a riverbed outside the village Imsker. Groups of women from the village have gathered by the river to do their laundry, just like time was standing still. While we rest and soak up the sun, our chef Ahmed and our eminent local guide Hamou serve up a hearty buffet. What a blissful luxury to skip those sweaty energy bars and sticky sports drinks and instead indulge in a lunch with fresh vegetables, freshly baked bread and delicious omelette. When we leave Imsker, the village children gather around us. They cheer, clap and give us high fives. It is the same in almost every village we pass. The huge welcome and the joy we encounter here is truly heart warming and one of many memories to keep. The Atlas Mountains are named after the Greek Titan Atlas. After a defeat in battle he was first forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders and was later turned into this mountain range. Whether true or not, there is certainly a heavenly feel to this place. Although every day is packed with adventures and incredible riding, one day in particular will be etched in my mind

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more than any other. At Amislane we climb up to a mountain pass again of over 2000m. Our bikes sketch lines in the thin layer of newly fallen snow, and soon a technical trail bring us down through a winding valley rich in fruit trees and gardens. Outside the village of Tizgui, we enrol some traditional furry four-legged shuttle experts. A team of mules and their caretakers help our bikes up and over a mountain pass while we try to keep pace by foot. This is not the most common of sights but here the mules are central to Berber culture, and our bikes weigh only a fraction of what the mules are capable of carrying. I take this as a small consolation. After dropping down through a narrow ravine lined with yellow autumn trees we continue our walk through a rough but gorgeous canyon.

whole week.

Then the landscape expands. The path is diffuse and the ground is different from previous days. Now it’s more like driving off-piste down a giant stable cairn. Here, the risk of falling is non-existent and the brakes get some much needed siesta as we let gravity do its thing. After six hours we recharge with another epic lunch and soon it turns out that we still have the absolute best in front of us, not only for today but for the

We reach what is promised to be an epic singletrack of world class quality. I team up with Lewis, a British rider that matches me in riding style. This kind of magic trail should not be enjoyed alone but shared and ridden in tune. We hold nothing back as we take the lead, racing ahead. It’s a classic singletrack with just the right amount of slope, cutting across the mountain side, steadily downhill for almost 10 km. However, it’s constantly exposed to the left and if we fall down, we will probably not stop until one of the thorny junipers catches us. But the dry ground has stable and hard surface, that delivers the best grip during the whole week. The bushes also contribute to an enhanced speed sensation. It´s pure pleasure and we get jacked on endorphins and adrenaline. We stop to wait for the others, turn around and look out over the rolling hills, now with the knowledge that here in Morocco, these hills harbour trails and endless singletrack possibilities…

 TEXT & PHOTO

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© DANIEL BREECE


That’s what happened to Swiss pro skier Jérémie Heitz who, in the film La Liste, selects 15 of the most spectacular faces in the Alps to attempt to ski down. “I chose these faces because of their history, steepness and beauty,” the 27-year-old says. Most of them are on mountains that are over 4,000m in altitude, with a gradient of around 50-55 degrees – such as the astounding North Shoulder of the Zinalrothorn, 4,221m, in Switzerland. Jérémie and his team-mate Sam aren’t making first descents of these imposing faces; they were generally first skied in the 1960s and 1970s by legendary pioneers of steep skiing. Instead, he is interested in documenting the evolution of big mountain skiing since those first descents – not only in terms of equipment, but also in terms of style. “The way Jérémie and Sam approach these mountains and try and ski them is nothing like classic steep skiing,” says photographer Tero Repo. “The idea is to do giant slalom on a very exposed face.” Crikey. Using the aggressive, fluid and beautiful-towatch freeriding he is renowned for, Jérémie swoops down the faces in a matter of hair-raising minutes, whereas original descents would have taken hours. It isn’t just the physical challenge though. With an objective like this, so much is dependent on the conditions, logistics... and dedication. “To do one of these faces in perfect conditions in a season isn’t easy,” Sam says. “To do 15 you need to be full-on – and lucky.”

Does Jérémie succeed? Find out by watching the film. Either way, the result of his challenge is incredible footage of extreme skiing, while telling the stories of some of the most iconic faces in the Alps. Jérémie has certainly achieved his ambition of bringing freeriding one step further on big mountains.

Photo: La Liste ©Guido Perrini

LA LISTE

→ ROSIE FULLER

LA LISTE

Can you imagine being given the chance to conquer everything on your dream adventure bucket list – in a year?

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DOING IT

→ ROSIE FULLER

DOING IT SCARED

SCARED E

ighteen years after a catastrophic accident left him with a severe brain injury, Paul Pritchard returns to the Totem Pole in Tasmania to find out if he has recovered enough to finish the climb “I’ve made my peace with fear. There’s no way of avoiding it, it’s reality, which means you have to befriend fear and do it scared,” says Paul Pritchard. Paul was one of the leading climbers and mountaineers of the 1980s and 1990s, renowned for his hard and extremely bold first ascents. In 1998, using the prize money he got for winning the Boardman Tasker Award for mountain literature with his book Deep Play, he embarked on a world climbing tour that took him to a spectacular sea stack in Tasmania called the Totem Pole. “To a climber it’s just the most sensational piece of rock in the world really,” he says of the dramatic 60m spire, which is in a deep chasm with waves lashing the base from all directions. But abseiling down, Paul dislodged a TV-sized boulder with his rope that hit him on the head, resulting in a severe head injury that he was lucky to survive. After an epic seven-hour rescue, he spent a year in hospital, learning how to walk, feed and dress himself again, while doctors struggled to get his post-traumatic seizures under control. He was left with hemiplegia, which means he has little feeling or movement in the right side of this body.

“To a climber it’s just the most sensational piece of rock in the world really,”

“The accident taught me a lot about acceptance,” Paul says. “Letting the future go without anticipation. With this acceptance comes the courage to navigate the necessary stumbling stones of life.” Every year since the accident, Paul has tried to make a pilgrimage to the Totem Pole, walking along Tasmania’s spectacular beaches to reflect on the spot where his life changed forever. “Just to look down and see where my life could have ended – it’s quite a special place for me,” he says. In 2016, however, he went one step further. Eighteen years after the accident, in Doing it Scared, Paul attempts once again to climb this towering giant – an epic challenge for anyone, let alone someone with the use of only one arm. “One of the reasons I wanted to climb the Totem Pole was to prove that disabled people are not unable. It’s society that is disabled around them,” Paul says. “I often call the past 18 years the longest expedition I’ve been on, because the numerous expeditions I went on beforehand all involved a lot of determination and patience,” he continues. “Since my accident it’s been like that, but even more so.” Doing it Scared is a film about an extraordinary man on an inspiring life journey, his continuing recovery

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Banff Mountain Film Festival Scandinavia 2017

from a crushing injury and the never-waning desire for adventure. It is a film about determination and acceptance, patience and humility, grace, and ultimately, freedom

”I wanted to prove that disabled people are not unable. It’s society that is disabled around them”


Ruin and Rose

we follow talented freeskiers as they tackle very different terrain in search of gorgeous jumps in Whistler and big lines in Alaska

Filmmaker: ©Ben Sturgulewski Photo: ©Matchstick Productions

RUIN AND ROSE

→@MATCHSTICK PRODUCTIONS

In the film

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Last Words

Festival and World Tour tidbits and your feedback

40

countries

500,000

35

people

films shown in…

1,000

screenings around the world

20,000

attend the festival in Banff each year

Heard around the world… What have you done to me?! → The films in this year’s festival were phenomenal! I had a hard time on Monday morning not quitting my job and running into the woods. Thank you for putting this on every year and allowing it to tour to small provinces like Newfoundland, Canada. → I felt all of the emotions tonight, sometimes at once. I laughed, cried, raged, hoped, and dreamed. A roller coaster… → The short movies got my heart pumping, I was on the edge of my seat twisting and turning with all the action.  Very awe-inspiring. You made me feel like… → I am not an outdoorsy person but after seeing all the films at the Banff movie festival, I was inspired to contribute something to society, and be more productive in my life and just LIVE.

@BanffMtnFest @BanffCentre #Banffworldtour

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Banff Mountain Film Festival Scandinavia 2017

Sweet dreams are made of this… → Banff films inspire me to work harder to be the outdoors woman I dream of becoming! Romance… → My husband and I are huge outdoor enthusiasts who are building our tiny home on wheels right now. The Banff Film Festival was one of our very first dates. The Banff Film World Tour hold a special place in our hearts and we look forward to it ever year. We go to see it in two different cities. Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado. Keep up all the inspiration! C’mon baby light my fire… → The 2015 Banff World Tour was the best one yet. Inspiring, tear-jerking, and simply amazing. If these films don’t ignite a love for the outdoors then nothing can. → Keep on staying true to the spirit adventure (in all its forms), outdoorsmanship, and sense of belonging that the festival has always given me.

facebook.com/mountainfilm

Social Media →@  sal_brown: Only 1/2way through first session of @BanffMtnFest #banffworldtour films and already wondering if I can make another film… →@  _livingston: Last night, our family loved the @BanffMtnFest #banffworldtour @TheBushnell This has been a 15 year tradition for @TrailrunningMom and me. →@  TAGManagement: Waiting for the films to start. 10th year in a row! #banffworldtour… →@  The_SarahBrown: Re-watching past trailers from the @BanffMtnFest because I can’t wait till it comes back to Denver!! Such an epic event. → @GFTrib_Chert: Review from the first half of the @BanffMtnFest in the first stop of the #BanffWorldTour in #GreatFalls #Montana: Out-of-the-park awesome.

youtube.com/banffcentre


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Banff Mountain Film Festival Scandinavia 2017

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Banff Mountain Film Festival Magazine 2017  

Welcome to the official program of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Scandinavia 2017!

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