The European Outdoor Film Tour (EOFT) arrived in the UK last week so the Ski Club went along to get our fix of outdoor sports and adventure.

18 years old and with 350 events across 15 European countries, EOFT provides a platform for a range of outdoors adventure disciplines to be showcased on the big screen. This year’s film festival drew from a diverse selection of activities; rollerskiing the length of North America, paragliding the Himalayas, mountain biking the Arctic Circle, rock climbing in Norway, an amputee hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, an 82-year-old cycling fanatic and a stop-motion mountaineering animation.

The Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham and second London screening still have tickets available, so head here for your 10% Ski Club members discount. 

Mbuzi Dume – Strong Goat

  

EOFT does an amazing job of contrasting short, high adrenaline films with inspirational stories and they don’t come much better than that of Tom Belz. Having has his left leg amputated at the age of eight as a result of bone cancer, ‘Strong Goat’ follows Tom and the doctor who saved his life, as they attempt to summit Mount Kilamanjaro.

The mission is thrown into doubt when Dr. Klaus Siegler admits the mountain has got the better of him and can go no further, but Tom has overcome harder challenges than Kili and continues to pursue his goal. By the end of the film you’ll begin to forget that Tom only has one leg as you marvel at the teamwork, trust and respect shown between Tom, Dr. Klaus and the guides.

A+B

Diapozitivi

Have you ever wanted to do a roadtrip from Alaska, through Canada and the US into Mexico? Us too! How about travelling the 6,759km on rollerskis? Not so keen for that one? Well that’s exactly what Raimonds Dombrovskis did, twice. Hailing from Latvia, Raimonds came to the US in the 70’s and made the US Biathalon team, becoming a seven-time US champion. He missed out on the 1888 Winter Olympics due to an appendectomy and in trying to gain an edge for the following winter season, he turned his hand to rollerskiing (and never looked back).

His dog, Bucis, and friends Florian and Martins joined for the original 1988 adventure, whilst the 2014 trip was a larger affair with a full documentary team. Peppered with humour, there are strong parallels between Raimonds and Jacques’ (in The Frenchy) with their lust for life and appreciation of the outdoors. You’ll be left in awe at the endurance they show, both at the age of 26 and on the return at the age of 52.

The A.O.

Pavel Blazek

The longest film of the festival and starring EOFT poster boy, Adam Ondra, The A.O traces the Czech climber as he tackles a new category of climbing: 9c. The beauty of this film lies not in the footage of Adam attempting his ‘Project Hard’ but in the exploration of his training methods; controlling both the body and the mind to work in harmony. In much the same way that skeleton or bobsleigh athletes memorise the turns in the track and practice them outside of the track environment, Adam engrains each hand and body movement of the 9c route onto his brain.

'The Frenchy'

   

Although only eight minutes long, The Frenchy provides enough laughter for the whole evening. Following Jacques Houot and his ‘no problem’ attitude around his adopted home of Colorado, the 82-year-old (or ’41 years old in each leg’ as he says himself) recounts tales of near-death experiences on the bike and on skis. Whilst working in Florida, Jaques suffered a heart attack and took the decision to move back to the mountains to be surrounded by nature, sport and the Great Outdoors. His motto of “everything I do is a bonus” is one we should all adhere to and by the end you’ll be struggling for breath after all the belly-laughing!

North of Nightfall

Blake Jorgenson / Red Bull Content Pool

With the help of scientists from the McGill station, four mountain bikers head to Axel Heiberg Island, Artic Circle, to find the perfect line. Setting up camp for a month and with 24 hours of sunlight a day, the opportunities seem endless until it has revealed the nearest hospital is a 12-hour flight away. Stunning footage is interspersed with hilarity, one particularly bad crash which led to a dislocated collarbone is repeated in slow motion and elicited many laughs from the crowd! This film will make you yearn for your next trip with your best friends.

8,000+

French paraglider Antoine Girard had a dream of flying over 8,000 metres and his aim was to surpass Broad Peak (8051m), Karakoram on the border of Pakistan, India and China. A computer scientist at Grenoble University by day, his adventure was completely self-supported and covered thousands of kilometres. Since thermals are needed to fly, the venture is entirely dependent on the weather and Girard is forced to make several emergency landings on knife-edge ridges. 

However, the biggest scare doesn’t come in the air but on the ground when a group of 12 armed tribesmen approach his resting spot. The views from his GoPro are incredible and you’ll be left wondering how he’s able to film and navigate the choppy currents between mountains 8,000 metres in the air.

Viacruxis

Not many film festivals would have the confidence to include a stop-motion animation but EOFT knows its audience and this eight-minute animation provides the ideal juxtaposition to the other films on show. Two mountaineers battle through wind and snow to reach the summit. For sheer originality of thought, Director Ignasi Lopez should be applauded.

The Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham and second London screening are still to come, so head here for more information. Ski Club members receive 10% off tickets bought online, here.