Film festival explores winter adventure

By Jenn Sheridan · 


Courtesy Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival · 

Feb. 26 | 7 p.m.
Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema | Tahoe City, Calif.
Price TBA 

Take a break from the human-powered adventures during the Alpenglow Mountain Festival for an evening at the cinema. The Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival celebrates the 11th anniversary of curating films that celebrate and inspire human-powered winter adventures.

This year the film festival showcases nine new films including features from both grassroots filmmakers and professional production companies.

Explore the mountains with adaptive back-country skier Vasu Sojitra in “Out on a Limb” from T-bar Films or follow a happy Labrador retriever and his owner in “Backcountry Baker.”

Sweetgrass Productions serves up a visual spectacle in “Afterglow” featuring Tahoe local Daron Rahlves and others as they suit up in LED lights for a ski trek under the stars. Some films such as “Powder Pilgrimage” and “95 to Infinity” celebrate the adventure to discovering new mountains while others, such as “From the Road” take a look at the skier’s mental journey of recovering from an injury. The festival culminates with “Higher,” the third installment of the trilogy from Jeremy Jones and Teton Gravity Research.

“All the films are donated and anyone can submit,” said Shelley Pursell, who works as the events and outreach coordinator for the Winter Wildlands Alliance. Films must focus on human-powered exploration during the winter and must tell an interesting story. From there the films can be anything from simple ski porn to an engaging call to action film.


The Backcountry Film Festival was started in 2004 to highlight the efforts of the Winter Wildlands Alliance. The nonprofit gives a voice to skiers, snowboarders, winter mountaineers and others who advocate for issues that impact winter back-country areas. The organization works to promote and preserve winter wildlands while encouraging responsible, human-powered recreation.

Funds from the Backcountry Film Festival are donated to partnering programs that support likeminded goals.

Locally, the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area partnered with the Winter Wildlands Alliance and the Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships to create the Winter Discovery Center. The 30-foot yurt is home to a comprehensive educational program where students learn winter ecology, plant and animal adaptation, natural history and watershed systems while allowing students to explore the Tahoe Cross Country with free gear rentals. All proceeds from the show on Feb. 26 will benefit the Winter Discover Center.

In addition to the Backcountry Film Fest, Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema will host two avalanche safety presentations with Bruce Temper of the Utah Avalanche Center on Feb. 24 and 25 during the Alpenglow Mountain Festival.


For more information and tickets, visit