Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Free Range and tasty. John and Jane Fisher Merritt own and operate the local CSA called Food Farm. They hook us up regularly with a winter share and birds a plenty. Last year we ended up with a 26 pounder, this year we decided to dial it back a bit. Janaki Fisher Merritt (son), is integral to the farm operation but is also a force behind the awesome Free Range Film Festival.
Paul from Banff was in town the past several days to present the Banff World Tour. In the past we have had great presenters but none have taken me or anybody else up on a Duluth Adventure. Paul was on the other side of that equation, he was stoked to go with no arm twisting what so ever. We ended up slapping on the Nordic Skates. Paul had not tried this before, a nordic skier in his home town of Canmore he fell in love with skating in an instant. While researching this post I also noticed this page, a killer site on skating in Sweden. Wild Skate.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The traveling version of the Banff festival will be in Duluth this weekend. It is being put on by Duluth XC. As I have already seen a good chunk of the films I am helping DXC pick the line up. Looks like there are some great ones. The film though that I am most interested in showing is called Red Gold. Red Gold is a beautifully shot film about a place called Bristol Bay in Alaska. It explores how the society and culture of a small town is dealing with a proposed Copper Sulfide Mine at the headwaters of its salmon fishery. Not only is this film important to Alaska, it is important to Minnesota as we are facing the same mining pressures here. This film is a must see for any sportsman or outdoorsperson who is interested in what the arrival of the mines will mean on a personal level. The photo is of Ben and Travis the makers of this incredible film, I was lucky to have a beer with them after the showing of their film at Banff. Not only are they great film makers they seem to be great people as well.
Every year we midwesterners are lucky to have a natural snow machine in Lake Superior. Lake effect. A mythical beast but a real one at that. In past week significant snow has fallen in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the ABR ski trails has hsitorically taken advantage of it. So while the rest of the midwest can expect at least a month of waiting to ski, the ABR trails could potentially have already kick started the season. For those who venture forth to Ironwood to get a few KM in, they can expect a festival atmosphere of a myriad of skiers all stoked to get snow under their feet. Me, I generally wait, I hate getting so excited to ski, only to return home to my bike or running.....
Friday, November 14, 2008
There is only one Timmy O'Neill. It was fun to hang out with him at the festival, he certainly kept the party rocking....We also had to edit an 8 minute flick about Timmy teaching his buddy how to meet a girl while climbing. The renditions were pretty hillarious!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I wasnt really sure what to expect when I went to the workshop in Banff. Who would I be working with? Would I fit in? Would I learn anything? Was it worth it? Well the last question is certainly easy to answer. Yes, it was worth it. I met a room full of people who were extremely creative, talented, friendly and most importantly accepting of me as a film maker and as a person. Might sound crazy to say but there are only a few types of groups of people I fit into in the world and they are a rare breed and seem to get rarer as I get older. After the first full day of classes I was speaking to Margaret (wife) and I found myself telling her that for the first time in years I felt like I was interacting within a group of people that I related to. I find now that I have some subtle pressure, out of pure respect to this group to go out, work hard and stay active in film making and if anything that is the most valuable thing I have taken away from the experience.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Today was a day learning about the Banff Center and Banff itself. I did alot of the tourist stuff as it was a small day at the center. The first thing I did was run up Tunnel Mountain
and then into Banff itself. The view from Tunnel is awesome, it looks to be one of the basic things you do while in Banff. The trail is well worn and looks like a superhighway but the view waiting at the small summit is pretty awesome, especially now that the Canadian Rockies are cloaked in snow. No wonder I am starting to have ski dreams again, it is in my DNA I think, to want that glide, to shed friction and play with gravity again. I think a run up Tunnel will be a daily morning affirmation.
Banff itself is pretty cool. Something about Canadian ski towns versus American. They certainly have thier glitz and glam but somehow they still seem to retain a soul.
Monday, November 03, 2008
So yesterday I made the long trip to Banff, Alberta. No hitches in the system, just a long ride to Calgary and then another long ride to to the Banff Center or as the Canadians say "centre". Man do I miss Canada. The people, the attitude, the insane outdoors opportunities. Margaret and I have had a pretty long and sustained love affair with with Canada. It might be wilderness paddling in Ontario or Manitoba. It might be hiking, sea kayaking or skiing in Quebec or powder skiing in British Columbia, whatever it is we always have an above average time here and I am super happy to be back. However, even though I thought I might be free of the election mania in the states, I was wrong, it would seem that whole world is holding its breath. Thankfully, I voted absentee!