Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
When: January 12 to 14
Where: Nevada City, California
What: With easy access from Los Angeles and San Francisco (the old gold-mining town is a one-hour drive from Sacramento), Patagonia sponsorship, and a growing reputation for top-notch environmental films, this five-year-old fest could be the next Banff.
The Scene: Look for celeb activists like Daryl Hannah and athletes like expedition kayaker Scott Lindgren rubbing green elbows and getting hopped up on eco-activism.
Film Credits: The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2006), Being Caribou (2005), Pale Male (2004)
Intermission: Rent a Specialized Stumpjumper from the Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop, and ride the 15-mile Round Mountain trail down to the Yuba River canyon. (www.tourofnevadacity.com)
Sneak Preview: The 2007 theme is "Oil and Water"-look for films like Crude Impact, which chronicles human dependency on fossil fuels, and Zen and Zero, about a surfing road-trip through Central America.
($82 for three-day pass; www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org)
Sundance Film Festival
When: January 18 to 28
Where: Park City, Utah
What: Look past the celebrities-and the paparazzi, and the 50,000 other movie fans-and you'll still catch the best of the world's indy offerings at 28-year-old Sundance.
The Scene: Worlds collide! Check out fur-clad Hollywood A-listers hobnobbing with indie filmmakers at VIP parties.
Film Credits: An Inconvenient Truth (2006), March of the Penguins (2005), Super Size Me (2004)
Intermission: Escape the crowds with a day of cat-skiing on 40,000 acres of private land with Park City Powder Cats & Heli-Ski. (www.pccats.com)
Sneak Preview: Of the 123 feature films selected, 82 of them are world premieres. Look for The Devil Came On Horseback, about Sudanese genocide, Chasing Ghosts, about the 1982 Video Game World Championships, SK8 Life, devoted to an aging skateboarders bid to make the ultimate video, and Everything's Cool, a comedic cross-sectional take on global warming.
($15 per screening, festival passes start at $300; www.Festival.sundance.org2007)
X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival
When: January 19 to 23
Where: Park City, Utah
What: The Red Bull-fueled after parties are often better attended than the screenings-40 skateboarding- and surfing-themed films attracting a mostly male, under-30 audience.
The Scene: Action sports superstars like Laird Hamilton and Glen Plake drink Utah's 3.2 percent beer and listen to hip hop at Park City's Main Street bars.
Film Credits: Full Circle (2006) , Blue Horizon (2005), The Ride (2004)
Intermission: Find Shaun White and other featured athletes in one of Park City Mountain Resort's four massive terrain parks. Try riding the rails under the lights at the PayDay Jib Park, which is open till 7:30 p.m., before hitting the late-night films. (www.pcski.com)
Sneak Preview: Look for Jason Bergh's I Am Danny Way and the newest ski porn, like Show and Prove, starring Tanner Hall and C.R. Johnson, and Teton Gravity Research's Anomaly.