First-ever Adventure Film Festival takes place in Beaver Creek |

First-ever Adventure Film Festival takes place in Beaver Creek

Caramie Schnell
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily"Moonwalk," 3:44 minutes; 2012

Adventure is good, but safety is paramount.

Scott Smith, the director of the Apex Mountain School in Avon, is bringing films about adventure to Beaver Creek to raise money to teach teenagers in Eagle County how to play safely in the backcountry.

Nine adventure films will screen Thursday night at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. The films are from the Boulder-based Adventure Film Festival, and include insightful and award-winning outdoor and environmental films.

Smith and others from Apex Mountain School helped choose the films, which range from films about skiing and biking, to ice and rock climbing and even one about highlining, which is basically slacklining (walking on a rope that isn’t stretched taunt) above the ground or water.

“We drove towards films that packed more of a punch on the excitement scale,” Smith said. And while they’re all “amazing films and each has its own unique character,” it’s the final film that will be shown tonight, called “Tempting Fear” that Smith pegs as his favorite. The film is about extreme skier Andreas Fransson,

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“He was just labeled adventurer of the year in Sweden,” Smith said. “He’s kind of a soft spoken guy, and a very deep thinker and he has some powerful insights on the meaning of it all.”

‘Full scale avalanche education courses’

Proceeds from the evening will fund avalanche education classes for Eagle County youth.

“The festival itself will raise funds for Eagle County youth avalanche education,” Smith said. “There are already a few parties going into the schools and giving presentations, so we don’t feel that there’s a gap in that. What’s not currently being offered, to our knowledge, is full scale avalanche education courses to youth and to my knowledge, we’re the only avalanche education provider that allows youth into our courses.”

In the U.S. there’s an organization called AIARE, which stands for American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

“That’s the mostly widely accepted avalanche education curriculum,” said Smith, who wants to put 40 kids through level one courses next winter, for free. The course would typically consist of one classroom day, “where we build a foundation and framework with information and knowledge,” Smith said, followed by time in the field where kids can apply what they’ve learned. This year’s event will raise money to fund classes that will take place next season, Smith said.

Thursday’s event will include raffle prizes and a special guest emcee.

“Racing the End,” 10:40 minutes; 2012

This bike race is everything a hipster could dream of: it’s urban, there’s a fixed-gear category, and it’s underground – meaning illegal. The winners are hammering hipsters vying for local bragging rights, and they leave pros and X-game medalists in the dust. This short film by Warren Kommers follows 400-plus spandex-clad cyclists as they crash the L.A. Marathon’s cross-town course.

“Blue Obsession,” 8 minutes; 2011

Every excursion he makes is a first ascent. That’s because the tipping icebergs and calving face of the Juneau Ice field are melting – exposing new surfaces almost more quickly than filmmaker and climber Aaron Gordon can document them. With awesome cinematography amidst the blue-glowing light of ice caves, ridges, and floes, Gordon examines the effect that global warming is having on his own backyard – and he conquers some epic lines in the process.

“Moonwalk,” 3:44 minutes; 2012

With the full moon rising, Dean Potter walks a highline on Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne Meadows – unleashed.

“The Freedom Chair,” 15 minutes; 2012

Josh Dueck was an aspiring skier and coach until a ski accident in 2004 changed his life for good. After coming to the realization that he would never walk again, Josh made a conscious decision to make the best of a terrible situation. Within one year he was back on snow doing what he loved, and shortly after, his determination took him to the top of the podium in the sport of sit-skiing. Despite his success in the world of competitive skiing, he wasn’t satisfied – his dream is to tackle the backcountry.

“Unicorn Sashimi,” 5:23 minutes; 2012

Felt Soul Media teamed up with Nick Waggoner and Yuki Miyazaki of Sweetgrass Productions in January 2012 to hunt the mythical Hokkaido Unicorn. The creature proved difficult to capture on film, so they decided to do a little skiing.

“The Gimp Monkeys,” 8 minutes; 2012

What has four legs, five arms and three heads? The Gimp Monkeys. Craig DeMartino lost his leg after a 100-foot climbing fall. Pete Davis was born without an arm. Bone cancer claimed Jarem Frye’s left leg at the age of 14. While the three are linked by what they are missing, it is their shared passion for climbing that pushed them toward an improbable goal – the first all-disabled ascent of Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan.

“Lacon De Catalonia,” 4:52 minutes; 2012

Huge ramp + mountain bike + crazy Spanish guy = big air and enough adrenaline to fill a dump truck. This film is a look at a new training compound in Llinars del Valles in the suburbs of Barcelona. In 2011 Andreu bought Edgar Torronteras´ FMX compound and built a 13-meter tall run to compensate for his lack of horsepowers.

“Honor the Treaties,” 14:08 minutes; 2012

Photographic Journalist Aaron Huey finds himself in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation with the last remaining Lakota Sioux Indians in South Dakota. Horrified by the 90 percent poverty rate, gang violence and extreme suffering he is allowed to photograph, the Indians tales unravel a dark and troubling history of oppression and broken treaties impossible to simply document. Crossing the line between journalism and activism, Aaron teams with famed street artist Shepard Fairy and Ernesto Yerena to create a poster campaign exposing the Indians plight through photographs.

“Tempting Fear,” 25 minutes; 2012

This film goes inside the mind of extreme skier Andreas Fransson, who has been called the boldest extreme skier in a generation. Over the past the years he’s logged first descents in a half-dozen countries, battled back to life from an accident that nearly killed him, and become the most talked about skier in the epicenter of all things extreme – Chamonix, France. What makes him most intriguing, however, are his thoughtful musings on the meaning from a life on the edge.

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