Banff, Canada is well known for its snow sports. Every year, in November, when it is too cold to go trekking, but not snowing enough yet for skiing, and therefore, a good time for outdoorsy people to be indoors, Banff hosts a film festival of adventure documentaries. The movies cover a wide range of sports — skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, horse riding, rock climbing, snowboarding, paragliding, and a bunch of others — but all share the same foundation: a love of the outdoors. Regular filmmakers want to make you go indoors and sit down. These filmmakers want to make you get up and go outdoors.
In the winter and spring, the best 25 of these movies go on tour, and visit, amongst other places, New York City. For the past several years, it has been an annual tradition for us to go to this film festival. It is a tradition I look forward to. I think of myself as a fairly adventurous person, but I lack the sheer physical courage of the stars of these movies. Whereas I enjoy the gorgeous backdrops, what I like the best is the chance to live vicariously on the edge for two whole evenings.
This year’s movie selection features a journey made on wild horses through the Rockies, from the Mexican to the Canadian border. Within the Arctic Circle, a photographer quests to get his perfect shot of a skier in front of an eclipse. A woman swims alone in the mountain lakes of Wales. Three friends kayak the upper reaches of the Colorado river. And so much more. All calculated to make your heart pump faster. To make your pulse race to the beat of a different drummer.