Go Big or Go Home

The world’s most adrenaline infused mountain films were showcased to over one thousand UVM students and local Vermonters last weekend in Ira Allen Chapel.The Banff Mountain Film Festival, held annually in Banff, Alberta, made the first stop of its World Tour in Burlington to show some of the best films from the festival ranging from cliffjumping on skis to iceberg climbing, all with a general mountain theme.”This is just a little teaser to the festival, which is considered the most prestigious of its kind in the world,” said Charla Sharp Tomlinson, an on-site coordinator with the World Tour.The actual festival is a highly competitive event, and this year received 324 video submissions from 37 different countries. Fifty to sixty finalists were chosen and their films were shown to an audience of ten to twelve thousand in Banff and 170,000 on the world tour, Sharp Tomlinson said.Teaser or not, the films left Burlington audience members astonished at the sheer beauty of the mountains and the daring audacity of the skiers, climbers, kayakers and mountain bikers shown.In “Aweberg,” a 26-minute film, two ice climbers set out to climb icebergs in the North Atlantic and found the task to be “fully freaky,” as climber Will Gadd described it.”I’ve never seen anyone try to do that before, that’s for damn sure,” said Lee Wood of North Carolina. In fact, many of the films are about adrenaline-junkies pushing themselves to the limits of human capability to do things no human has ever done.Kayakers explored previously un-paddled rivers in South America and Africa in “Mission: Epicocity,” shooting over raging waterfalls and disappearing into the whitewater below.In “Anomaly,” Jamie Pierre skied off a 255-ft. cliff and stopped the hearts of almost everyone in Ira Allen as he launched over the lip of the rock wall and sailed through the air for four seconds, landing unharmed on his head in deep powder.Another film was ten minutes of aerial video shot in Austria that followed the path of an eagle as it soared through forested hillsides and the jagged, snowy Tyrolean Alps.Special Events Chair person for UVM outing club Kaela Gray, helped organize this year’s festival stop in Burlington along with The Skirack and other students in the Outing Club. “This is the only one happening in Vermont,” said Gray.This year’s venue changed from CC Theater to Ira Allen Chapel in hopes of letting more people enjoy the films and raise more money for the Outing Club.And more people did come, but despite the larger venue people were still being turned away at the door from sold out shows on Friday and Saturday.During intermission, the Skirack presented Outing Club President Megan Johnson and Vice President Jake Weissman with a $2,500 check from the ticket proceeds. As the show ended, thoughts of hitting the mountains stewed as audience members filed out of Ira Allen Chapel to find their cars covered in a fresh coat of snow.