What We Learned From Banff

Inspiring stories and Norwegians are awesome

Banff Outside Online

Canadian Rockies in Banff, Canada     Photo: Nick Kelley

The 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival wrapped up on Sunday night after nine days of energizing events and films. This year's festival left me with the sense that our adventure world is growing in size and insanity—and that Norwegians are simply a bit tougher and more adventurous than us all.

North of the Sun, a Norwegian film by Inge Wegge and Jorn Ranum, was the unanimous favorite, taking home the Dolby Audio Prize, People's Choice Award, and the coveted Grand Prize. This cold-weather surfing film, like many of the other 80 Banff finalists, forced me to seriously consider running out of the theater and departing on an adventure of my own.

The quality of adventure films continues to improve, with the likes of Sweetgrass Productions and Sender Films consistently pushing the cinematic boundaries. Explorers like Silvia Vidal, a climber who spent 32 days suspended alone on a remote Patagonian wall, and Tim Cope, whose grand prize-winning book on his horse-powered journey from Mongolia to Hungary, are redefining what an adventure really is.

I was also reminded that a great story trumps all. The Last Ice Merchant, a film on the last Ecuadorian glacial ice farmer, connects us with a man who let the modern world pass him by. The best short film award winner, 35, laid down a challenge to push yourself and end each day with "that was awesome!"

If you're interested in checking out some great adventure filmmaking, the festival now leaves the comforts of home in Alberta, Canada, and sets off on its annual world tour.

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