Backcountry film lovers can get their fix at the Winter Wildlands Alliance film festival this weekend. Featuring 7 backcountry films from both renowned and grassroots filmmakers, the festival takes place for the first time Saturday at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge. It is presented by Backcountry Babes, formerly Babes in the Backcountry.Among the films to be shown, Backcountry Babes owner Jenna Boisvert picked out Luc Mehl's short film, "Alaska Wilderness Ski Classic," as one of her favorites. The film spotlights the two-decades-old event, which consists of a 100-150-mile backcountry course completed over 5-8 days without outside assistance or marked routes. Boisvert, who knows Mehl, John Pikar and other event participants, finds inspiration in how humble the Alaskans are about their accomplishments."They do that stuff for the fun of it and to challenge themselves, not for the competition," Boisvert said. "I think Luc ... did a great job capturing the essence of the event, keeping it concise and adding in some good introspection and humor, but not dramatizing it the way so many other mainstream films can be. It is subtle and real."She also enjoyed "A Story of Trust," created by a 9-year-old activist. "I think it is awesome that someone that young can be so passionate about the environment," Boisvert said. Last, she recognized "The Freedom Chair" for being "very inspirational," applauding the mix of music and videography. "I have watched that film about 10 times now and I never get tired of it," she said.Other films include Best of the Backcountry winner, "Skiing the Void" from Sweetgrass Productions, a festival cut of Jeremy Jones' "Further" from Teton Gravity Research, "The Denali Experiment: A Test of Human Limits" from Camp4Collective, and "Unicorn Sashimi" from Felt Soul Media.Film fest creator Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA) works to preserve and promote winter landscapes for human-powered users. Backcountry Babes is among numerous organizations in the West hosting it to raise money for WWA and related causes. Proceeds go to Winter Wildlands Alliance, Backcountry Babes' new avalanche education scholarship program and funding for a women's grassroots backcountry ski film, Boisvert said. The scholarships, new this year, provide need-based financial assistance for participants to attend Avalanche I courses. They also support the travel and education of female American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) instructors so they can teach in areas where there is a need for women's avalanche education, Boisvert said. The idea for the women's ski film is still in the conceptual stage. "It is something that a lot of us women are starting to recognize - the lack of women in ski films," Boisvert said. "There also has been a big shift towards the super agro and extreme skiing films. Some of this is getting so far out there that the mass population of skiers, especially women, can hardly associate with it ... So, we are trying to raise some funds to potentially start some filming for a women's backcountry ski film." "The films are all great, and really diverse, so there is something everyone will enjoy," she said of Saturday's event. "It also is a great social event to get out and do something fun, meet or see other people in town. And there is a big gear raffle included. Who doesn't want to win free swag?"An aprs film party at The Warming Hut Restaurant in Breck follows from 9-11 p.m.
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