I made the choice in my life to live full time in the mountains. They fascinate, empower & thrill me. There’s nothing that excites me more than being around a group of like minded people. People who revel in their magic too. Early this November I visited Banff in Alberta Canada for the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. I spent an epic week there exploring the region & enjoying all aspects of the Mountain Film scene. This was the 40th anniversary of the festival & the energy was vibrant! It was a week of self discovery set in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
What I enjoyed most about this festival was the ability to dive deep into the mountain culture…not only did I learn new things, but I seek deep within too. The expertly curated films make me want to experience everything the great outdoors has to offer. They inspire me to spread my wanderlust wings even wider.
I get swept away by these films and by the authors that talk about their fascinating adventure books. I also get an inside understanding of what the athletes & production teams go through to tell their stories. After many of the films there are open and candid Q&A sessions where we learn the nitty gritty of what goes into the films. It amazes me how time slips away during the all day screenings and I find a focus I never knew I had!
I attended some wonderful cocktail parties where the food, drink & conversation was flowing! I met up with my cowboy friend Val from the film Unbranded & caught up with him. If you have not seen that film I highly suggest you do! It took overwhelming popular vote awards in both Banff and my hometown Telluride.
That’s me & Val…he lives just outside of Cody, Wyoming & was super pumped to be presenting his film in Banff. He always cowboy songs on stage of which the audience flipped for!
My first few days in Alberta were spent at the beautiful Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (I’ll share more on that in an upcoming post) It was my first time there & I will definitely head back to ski! The snow was powder perfection. The Chateau made me feel like a princess with every attention to detail.
The town of Banff is breathtaking! The vertical gain of the surrounding mountains makes it majestic!
I attended a few events in town…one of the most notable was at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. This museum houses amazing historical photos of the area & beautiful fine art created by Canadian artisans. It was fun to explore the works & hob nob with mountain film goers. With plenty of wine & food in hand it was a very festive event! There were screenings in town too, though most were held conveniently at The Banff Centre.
My hosts for this event were the amazing folks at The Banff Centre. After Lake Louise I transferred to a hotel room at Centre.Their tagline “Inspiring Creativity” says it all. This campus is a mecca for everything creative. I’ve never been somewhere where all aspects of the arts is so embraced. They provide various programs to advance and inspire the practice of artists and leaders. I took a campus tour where I got to see first hand the great assets this place has for people to better themselves by doing what they love.
The campus sits in a bowl surrounded by breathtaking mountain views, the ideal location to learn & watch mountain films. There are many programs to chose from at the Centre. All you need to attend is a will to learn, create and be a student of life. The Centre accommodates both professionals & emerging artists. I would love to do a study there someday!
I was totally intrigued by the Leighton Artists Colony. These 9 solitary retreats help further focus & commitment to the programs. They are each designed by a different Canadian architect & they are so dang cool!
You can be sure I ate well at The Banff Centre. I enjoyed their buffet breakfast early each morning to fuel me up for all the daily events. The food was fresh, creative and delicious! The Baked Apples were heavenly & that Mixed Berry Compote I still dream about!
I loved seeing these woodland creatures walking around campus as I walked between film screenings….
Some favorites events from the festival included:
- The Snow Show
- Chasing Niagara
- The Rocky Mountains Traverse
- The National Geographic Story Telling Workshop
- All the parties! I highly suggest you get tickets to these too, they really round out the experience.
A few films to Note (and there were many more!)
- K2: Touching the Sky
- Hadwin’s Judgement