Nate Chute Foundation to Host Film Screening Highlighting Mountain Town Suicide Crisis

'The Paradise Paradox' will be shown Thursday, March 14 at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center followed by a panel discussion with local mental health providers, athletes, ski industry and nonprofit leaders

By Maggie Dresser
A competitor races in the Nate Chute Banked Slalom at Whitefish Mountain Resort of March 19, 2022. The Nate Chute Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention in Western Montana. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Nate Chute Foundation (NCF) on Thursday, March 14 is hosting a free film screening of the “The Paradise Paradox” along with a panel discussion at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center to kick off the nonprofit’s 25th annual Nate Chute Banked Slalom and Boardercross weekend at Whitefish Mountain Resort (WMR).

Produced by Olympic alpine skier Bode Miller and Emmy Award winning filmmaker Brett Rapkin, the “The Paradise Paradox” examines the mental health crisis in American mountain towns and the snow sports industry. The film features interviews with mountain industry professionals and Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin,.

“We’re excited to bring this type of film to the Flathead and to combine the energy of the Nate Chute Banked Slalom and Boardercross with a discussion on mental wellness,” said Corrie Holloway, Community Outreach Coordinator of the Nate Chute Foundation. “Together, we can raise awareness, reduce stigma, and drive positive change in our community.”

Following the screening, a panel will be held featuring a discussion with local professionals including WMR CEO Nick Polumbus, NCF Program Director Jenny Cloutier, Stumptown Snowboards Manager Dylan Parr and local mental health providers. The panel will be moderated by Kacy Howard of the NCF, and topics will include local resource connections and community solutions.

Sponsored by WMR and Stumptown Snowboards, the 25th Annual Nate Chute Banked Slalom and Boardercross will be held on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17. The event started as a tribute to Nate Chute, who died by suicide shortly after graduating from Whitefish High School more than two decades ago, and raises awareness and funding for suicide prevention.

Montana has among the highest suicide rates in the nation, where 350 people died by suicide in 2021 and it was the seventh leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In Flathead County, there were 41 suicides in 2021, 16 of which were among individuals ages 20 to 39 while nine were under age 20, according to a 2022 Flathead City-County Health Department report.

Between 2009 and 2018, the youth suicide rate, which ranges from 11 to 17 years in age, was more than twice the national rate.

“The Paradise Paradox” will be screened at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center on Thursday, March 14 at 6 p.m. followed by the panel.

For more details, visit www.natechutefoundation.org or contact [email protected].

If you are in crisis and want help, call the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24/7, at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or text “MT” to 741 741. The National Suicide Prevention hotline can also be reached by calling or texting 988 or chatting at 988lifeline.org.