Flicks Flaunt Outdoor Lifestyle

By Beacon Staff

For those looking for inspiration for the upcoming winter sports season, or a final fix as their favorite outdoor summer sport succumbs to snow, or even couch potatoes and film fanatics, an annual Kalispell event aims to satisfy all: The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.

The world’s largest mountain festival, the Banff Mountain Film Festival, has hit the road again this year, with stops planned in more than 275 communities and 30 countries across the world. The tour, sponsored locally by the Flathead Nordic Ski Patrol, will stop in Kalispell for shows Nov. 13 and 14.

The area ski patrol group first sponsored the event in 1991 and has continued every year since. Member Steve Burglund said the show, which sells out each year, appeals to a broad audience across the valley: “It obviously attracts the groups of people who like to participate in these different outdoor activities, but we also have a lot of other people attend. Those interested in the environment, coach potatoes, film enthusiasts ¬– it’s something a lot of people seem to enjoy.”

The annual festival held Oct. 27 through Nov. 4 near the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta, features the world’s best mountain films and speakers. Films include everything from intense action features to longer documentary pieces. From the approximately 300 films entered into the competition, the World Tour uses about 25 films that feature a range of styles and themes, including mountain culture, climbing, skiing, kayaking, biking, adventure, culture and the environment.

FNSP chooses which World Tour films to show in Kalispell. Their choices will be made available on their website – http://www.flatheadnordic.org/FNSP/Home.html – the week before the Kalispell shows. Burgland said the group tries to pick a wide spectrum of subjects, and has different shows both nights.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is FNSP’s only fundraiser and helps the group fund equipment and training. FNSP is a non-profit group of about 30 volunteers trained to respond to any type of winter backcountry emergency. They are dispatched by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and operate primarily within Flathead County, though occasionally within other areas of northwest Montana. Burgland said members are EMT certified and specialize in avalanche rescue, mountain travel, education, and outdoor emergency care and transport.

“We generally respond to about half a dozen rescue situations each year, everything from backcountry skiing and snowboarding accidents to lost or wrecked snowmobilers or lost hunters,” Burglund said.

Burglund said the group is always looking for new members, and can train people with varying levels of experience in backcountry travel and emergency rescue.

Both nights, Nov. 13 and 14, shows will be held at the Flathead High School auditorium at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person and are available at businesses in Kalispell and Whitefish, including Sportsman Ski Haus, Big Sky Sunglasses, Montana Radio Café 101.9 FM, Rocky Mountain Outfitter, Runner Up Sports and The White Room.