MM7792 Melt ZonePhoto courtesy of James Balog/Chasing Ice

 

BY LAURELLE WALSH

North Cascades Mountain Hostel brings two days of film and mountain culture to Winthrop this weekend with the award-winning film Chasing Ice on Friday evening (June 28), followed by the Mountain Fair Saturday afternoon (June 29) and select films from Telluride MountainFilm On Tour Saturday evening.

Tickets for Chasing Ice and MountainFilm On Tour may be purchased singly, or as a two-day festival pass at http://mountainfilmontour-winthrop.bpt.me or at North Cascades Mountain Hostel (209 Castle Ave. in Winthrop), or at the door. Two-day passes are $10 for students under 18, $20 for adults.

Ten percent of all ticket sales will benefit the Valley Teen Center.

“The Methow Valley is a recreational capital,” said organizer Paul Smotherman. “We need a weekend to promote that. We want to celebrate mountain culture and contribute to the community by sponsoring events like this.”

The weekend begins at the Winthrop Barn on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with an alpine climbing presentation and signing of the new SuperTopo guidebook Washington Pass Climbing with author Ian Nicholson. Entry is by donation to benefit the Friends of Fun Rock anchor replacement fund.

The event will then move outdoors to the park bandshell in Mac Lloyd Park for the Winthrop premiere of Chasing Ice at 9 p.m. Guests should bring chairs or blankets for sitting on the lawn, organizer Audrey Jo Mills suggests. Concessions will be available for purchase.

Smotherman and Mills will open the film with a brief talk on their work at Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, providing logistical and field support to the scientific team of the Extreme Ice Survey – the subject of the film, Chasing Ice.

Chasing Ice starts in 2005, when environmental photographer James Balog sets out for Iceland on assignment for National Geographic to capture photographic evidence of the Earth’s changing climate. The footage he captured there laid the groundwork for the Extreme Ice Survey: a multi-year record of changes in Arctic glaciers over time.

The 90-minute documentary tells the story of Balog and the scientists on the survey who put themselves at great risk to capture time-lapse images of the changing landscape. “This is the memory of the landscape; that landscape is gone. It may never be seen again in the history of civilization,” Balog states in the film.

Chasing Ice screened at the White House on Earth Day 2013 and has won more than 30 awards at film festivals around the world since it premiered at Sundance in 2012.

Saturday’s Mountain Fair runs from 2-7 p.m. in the Winthrop park. The fair will include outfitters and vendors in the outdoor industry, as well as local nonprofits. Demonstrations throughout the afternoon will range from outdoor photography to slacklining to white water kayaking to fat biking.

“Businesses in the outdoor industry depend on where we live,” said Mills. “We want to bring this fair to people who depend on the mountains for their livelihood.”

There will be food vendors, local artists and live music throughout the Mountain Fair.

Evening events will move into the Barn at 7 p.m. where Winthrop will be the first U.S. stop for the 2013 MountainFilm On Tour.

MountainFilm’s program director Emily Long will be the emcee, presenting background information on the festival’s 10 films and introducing local filmmakers Ben Drummond and Sara Joy Steele with their film Badru’s Story, and Seattle filmmaker Eric Becker with his film Honor the Treaties.

Other films in the three-hour lineup include the animated short The Squeakiest Roar; the adaptive climbing film The Gimp Monkees; the human interest film Slomo;  the adventure skiing film Strong; Split of a Second, an adrenaline-filled short about BASE jumping; Wolf Mountain, a film about wolves in captivity; the adventure surfing feature film Nord for Sola; and Cascada, a whitewater kayaking film.

For more information on the film festival and the weekend’s events, contact the organizers at (509) 699-0568, or go to the website www.northcascadesmountainhostel.com/events/.