The Banff Mountain Film Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious of its kind and the World Tour stops in around 40 countries across the globe.

There are two sets of screenings, red and blue, with the blue showing 9 films and the red showing 7. All celebrate adventure, the environment, mountain culture and the outdoors. Here’s a sneak peek of two of our favourites.

2.5 Million 

2 Million feet is the world record for vertical feet skied using only human-powered means. It was set by Greg Hill in 2010 after ten years of training, until 2016 when Aaron Rice decided he could beat it despite his only training being one summer and three years as a ski bum.

Sick of tracked out pistes, the seasonnaire decided to take his passion for backcountry skiing and push it to the extreme. His journey begins in Alta, Utah, where he averages a staggering 10,000 feet of skiing per day. There is little margin for error, but backcountry skiing inevitably comes with the risk of injury and he suffers plenty of physical setbacks, prompting the question: why put yourself through it? In the summer he moves to Argentina where he explores the breathtaking couloirs of Bariloche.

Watching his mission, it makes you question why someone would take on such a physically and emotionally draining task. The hikes are long and solitary, but Aaron’s passion for seeking out untouched routes is extraordinary. He is truly committed to his personal goal and challenging the boundaries of what is humanly possible, which is inspiring viewing for anyone who dreams of skiing uncharted terrain. 

2.5 Million

 

Johanna

Johanna is a short film lasting only a few minutes, but one which leaves a very lasting impression. Johanna was previously a cyclist and became injured in an accident. To help with the recovery, she was prescribed cold water therapy. This led her to discover a passion for a sport which would strike fear in the heart of most people: ice diving.

The camera takes the viewer on a journey with Johanna into the murky underworld of a lake covered in snow. Ice formations hang down where there are objects frozen and Johanna hangs peacefully in the water, weightless and still. The camera captures the beautiful swirling patterns that the ice has made while freezing, but that is only a momentary distraction from the suffocating feeling which viewers experience.

It takes a special kind of person to pursue such an extreme pastime, and this activity is both beautiful and lethal. Johanna’s takes the viewer to a frightening place they would otherwise never see, and never choose to go. Her recovery from injury is perfectly captured in her transformation into a strong, fearless diver and for me, that makes it the most captivating film of the series.

You can catch The Banff Mountain Film festival in venues across the UK until 19th May and Ski Club members get 10% off tickets to selected screenings when booked online. Find out more here 

Johanna