‘Jonesing for snow’

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‘Jonesing for snow’

BY MICHELLE FREDRICKSON | Evergreen managing editor

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With November beginning and the snow not yet falling, it’s an odd time of year, a lull in outdoor activity. It is not quite ski season, but it is too cold for camping and climbing. Tonight, outdoor enthusiasts can satisfy their adventure cravings with the Moscow stop of the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival.

“We’re all jonesing for some snow, and it hasn’t come yet,” said Lauretta Campbell, owner of Hyperspud Sports in Moscow, where tickets to the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival are being sold. Hyperspud Sports partners with most outdoor film festivals in the area to assist in the fundraising, Campbell said.

The Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, which has stopped in Moscow annually for the past five years, will play at 7 p.m. tonight at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre. All proceeds go to the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the wilderness.

The Festival is a four-day event in Telluride, Colorado, that takes place in May. After, the festival goes on tour and may be used for fundraising for certain organizations like the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, said Sue Webster, communication and membership coordinator for the Foundation.

“Over the course of those four days, they present films about environment, sports, and also stewardship-type films,” Webster said.

The films showcased on this tour will be a selection of 10 from the Festival in Telluride. These 10 vary in length, from fewer than five minutes to feature length.  A facilitator from Telluride comes to assist the production, which will last approximately two and a half hours.

“There’s just a myriad of wonderful films to choose from, and we picked 10,” Webster said.

Some films are straightforward adventure, but some are more abstract depictions of a filmmaker’s relationship with the environment, Campbell said.

Some of the films include skiing Bella Coola from the film “Into The Mind”; “Catch It,” a segment profiling a female surfer; “Balloon Highway,” a film on slacklining; and “Karsts of China,” a film about climbing and Chinese culture.

The environmental focus means most of the films do not feature the extensive helicopter use common in many adventure films.

“Taking a helicopter everywhere is not exactly environmentally friendly,” Campbell said.

The outdoor sports community in the Pullman-Moscow area is a strong one, Webster said. She noted a passion for the environment, and said her Foundation promotes internship opportunities at the film festival because the crowd is actively engaged in keeping the outdoors accessible.

Christine Gilmore, executive director of the Kenworthy, said it is always an enjoyable crowd to host.

“It’s really fun to watch the audience too, and a lot of people follow along with the video – they interact with it, so really, it’s fun,” Gilmore said.

The unique nature of films give the event character, and Gilmore said she always tells the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation they’re going to sell out the venue.

“I can’t stress how much people really enjoy it,” Gilmore said. “It proves itself year after year because attendance increases year after year.”

Along with the films, the event also features a raffle with donated prizes, including donated gear from stores like Hyperspud Sports, and the grand prize: a two-day raft trip down the Salmon River, Webster said.

The fundraiser for the foundation has been successful for years, Webster said.

“The real reason that we do it is because of the organization we’re with, the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation,” Webster said. “And that Foundation’s charter is to take care of the environment we’re in.”

The Foundation works in wilderness zones, keeping them accessible to safe enjoyment. No cars are allowed in wilderness areas, so all the Foundation’s work is done by horseback or pack mules.

With two major wilderness areas, the Selway-Bitteroot and the Frank Church, Idaho has more wilderness than any other state in the continental U.S.

“It’s more people on the ground, saying ‘No, we want to preserve this,’” Campbell said.

The show in Moscow is the final stop in a three-city tour to fundraise for the Selway-Bitterroot Church Foundation, with previous stops in Boise, Idaho, and Missoula, Montana.

The Mountainfilm festival is not the only outdoor adventure film extravaganza in the area – films hosted by the University of Idaho Ski Team and the WSU Outdoor Recreation Center come later in the winter. But this one comes first.

“It’s the one that’s starting to get people really stoked,” Campbell said.