2011 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

Last night, during the Oscar’s, three generations of Livingston’s saw the New London, Connecticut showing of the Banff Mountain Festival World Tour. It was so much better than watching television. It was fantastic. Deb and I were joined by our son and my father. We saw five films over the course of 2.5 hours: Into Darkness, A Life Ascending, Life Cycles, Eastern Rises, and The Swiss Machine.

I was thrilled with the night’s selections. It would have been nice to see a few more short films (we have seen up to nine total in the past), but the five choices were awesome. We thought that our boy would nod off thanks to jet lag and a showtime that was well past his bed time, but at 11:00 P.M., he was still going strong. That gives me hope that someday, I will spent countless days in the mountains with him.

Into Darkness, about spelunking, forced me to hold my breath at times. I have no interest in caving, but loved the story about these true adventurers. The cinematography was fabulous, considering that they shot this in total darkness and relied on artificial light to bring the depths of these caverns to life.

A Life Ascending, was one of the best films I have ever seen. It was an incredibly poignant story about Ruedi Beglinger and his family, who run the Selkirk Mountain Experience in western Canada. I love family businesses, and this was the ultimate family business in the ultimate location. Debbie’s only comment was that with all of that snow, you can’t run outside. I guess you would have to learn to ski really well, like Beglinger. The story about this Swiss trained guide and his family will move you to tears. The family business suffers a tragedy when six clients and a fellow guide perish on a trip with Beglinger. Ruedi and another guide survive the avalanche that kills the others. He is fraught with sadness in the months following the accident.  The film artfully weaves in quotes from Ben Gadd’s novel, Raven’s End. Ultimately, the family forges ahead, which is all you can do.

Life Cycles about western Canadian freestyle mountain bikers living in a farming community is terrific. After opening scenes of gorgeously lush wilderness transition to an industrial town with smoke billowing from the stacks at a massive factory, the filmmakers turn their lenses to the production of bicycles and bicycle components. Never before have I seen shots of machining in a Banff Mountain Film Festival showing, so I was ecstatic to see stuff that I see every day at Horst Engineering. Forges pumped, rotary transfer machines indexed, milling machines milled, and heat treating furnaces baked. I loved it.

Our 4.5-year-old son couldn’t have been happier. The film abruptly left the industrialized world of the factory and returned to the farm where the riders performed their beautifully choreographed tricks with lovely shots of grain, growing in the foreground. They jumped combine harvesters, rode by tractors, leapt out of barn hay lofts, and dazzled through the trails. It was a feast for the eyes.

Eastern Rises was one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. I am not a fisherman, but this story about a trip to eastern Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula was hilarious and interesting. I first read about the Kamchatka in the August 2009 issue of National Geographic. The place is so remote and so pristine, that I hope that it remains that way. The irreverence of the filmaker and cast shown through, but at the core, these guys love the wilderness and want to preserve it.

The final film was my favorite because of its incredible intensity. The Swiss Machine, about Ueli Steck, the incredible speed-alpinist was riveting. The film also features Alex Honnold, who dazzled in First Ascent: Alone on the Wall, shown on the 2010 World Tour, but Steck trumps Honnold with his combination of rock climbing, mixed climbing, and mountaineering. Witnessing his record-breaking speed ascent of the Eiger was magnificent and has me fired up to begin training in earnest for my own running, cycling, and triathlon season. I suggested to Debbie that she try his hill training regiment. The guy has to be a machine, as the title implies.

New Hampshire based climber and guide, Freddie Wilkinson, offers excellent commentary. I didn’t know Fred was in the film, and when he appeared, I was thrilled. Several years ago, I spent three days with Fred in the White Mountains.  He taught me basic mountaineering skills through his work at the International Mountain Climbing School in North Conway. We had great conversations about our adventures all over the world. I need a mountaineering refresher course now, and Steck has inspired me to plan for something. However, I have no intention of taking the same risks. 

There are 23 other films in rotation on the tour, but I was totally satisfied with the five we saw. We were in Denver, Colorado last week, and I saw on the big sign in front of the Paramount Theater, that the tour will be there next. I would love to go back for that, but will have to remain content that we made it back in time to see the tour on our home turf.

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I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏 #Repost @horsteng
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