Mountain high: This photo by Kennan Harvey is of Will Gadd climbing Louise Falls in Banff National Park and is a signature photo of  the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Mountain high: This photo by Kennan Harvey is of Will Gadd climbing Louise Falls in Banff National Park and is a signature photo of the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Films fuel Search and Rescue

They don’t know what they will be showing but they know it will be good.

They don’t know what they will be showing but they know it will be good.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour brings the spirit of outdoor adventure to Salmon Arm Nov. 22 and 23  –  Shuswap Search and Rescue’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival, a program of The Banff Centre, is the largest, and one of the most prestigious, mountain festivals in the world. Travelling to exotic landscapes and remote cultures, and bringing audiences up-close and personal with adrenalin-packed action sports, the tour is an exhilarating and provocative exploration of the mountain world.

“The festival in Banff wraps up on Nov. 9 and we get to choose from the best of the best,” says Shuswap Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer Hiapo Poirier. “Generally we pick about 110 minutes of film, some range from three-minute clips and we have had films that go to 60 minutes.”

Poirier says local festival organizers generally try to average five- to 25-minute films, a time scheme that keeps the flow going and allows them to provide a variety of snowboarding, skiing, climbing, paddling, rock or ice climbing films.

“The films are also based on the environment and non-motorized   sports,” he says. “We’ve had base jumping before and we’ve even had fly-fishing.”

A Shuswap SAR volunteer for 12 years, Poirier says the money raised through the annual festival is used for major purchases and projects.

“In the past, we bought an initial response vehicle and we’ve also used it for gear such as avalanche air bags,” he says. “This year, our major project is an RUV (recreational utility vehicle))

Poirier says the vehicle looks like a quad but has a steering wheel, an enclosed space and can carry up to four people. SAR officials are hoping to have it customized to be able to carry a spine board.

“When we do snowmobile rescues, we have to haul people down the mountain in a toboggan behind a snowmobile,” he says, noting most of SARs requests for assistance involve snowmobilers. “When you  haul people, there’s often about 30 kilometres of really rough road. The benefit of this is we can put them in a relatively enclosed space and there will be suspension for a softer ride.”

Of the film festival, Poirier says the biggest change is this year’s event rolls out over  two nights instead of one.

“It’s two sets of films,” Poirier emphasizes. “If you miss Saturday’s films, you won’t be able to catch them Sunday.”

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour comes to the Salmar Classic Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 23.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m and the films begin at 7. Tickets at $20 for one night or $35 for both are available at Wearabouts. All proceeds will go directly to the Shuswap Search and Rescue Society.

The group currently has 35 members, who respond to calls in a territory that stretches from Pritchard in the west to Three Valley Gap in the east, including all water bodies, and south to Enderby – all prime snowmobiling area. Anyone interested in joining the group, may call Luke Gubbels at 250-803-1095.

 

Salmon Arm Observer

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