Snow-carved mountains, a foreboding silence and desolate landscapes appear across the screen. “How far can I push this before it pushes back?” asks the narrator before a quiet avalanche of snow begins to flood.
This is just one scene depicting the journey of the Sweetgrass Production crew through the obstacles of backcountry skiing in their film, “Skiing the Void.” The award-winning film will appear at the Backcountry Film Festival hosted by the Fresno State Recreation Association Thursday.
The 8th annual film festival features work submitted by world-renowned and grassroots filmmakers who share a mutual respect for the backcountry. They capture stories of nonmotorized recreation and environmental preservation through film.
“The festival highlights the fun and magic of our country’s winter backcountry,” Recreation Association president Emily Bosh said. “At the same time, it raises funds to help the Winter Wildlands Alliance’s efforts to protect wild areas throughout the country.”
Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA) is a nonprofit organization aimed at preserving winter wild lands and promoting human-powered snow sports. It serves as a voice for outdoor adventurers to ensure future generations will have a sizable amount of public land to experience the wonders of winter.
“They [WWA] want people to enjoy nature without damaging it, and I think that priority gets lost in a lot of people’s minds,” said recreation student Kristen Wong.
Ticket sales and raffle prizes will raise money in support of the WWA to help protect wild areas throughout the country.
“The film festival is another quality event put on by the Rec. Association,” recreation professor Justin Butchert said. “There are some excellent raffle prizes, including a whitewater rafting trip donated by the local recreation community.”
Festival sponsor REI donated a backpacking tent, camp chair and daypack to also be raffled off in support of WWA, Bosh said.
Over the years, the festival has traveled to hundreds of cities and raised thousands of dollars in support of wild areas.
The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. in the Residence Dining Hall. Tickets are $2 for students, $3 for the general public and both include a raffle ticket with admission.