Countdown to Banff

Article Published: Mar. 3, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Countdown to Banff

A still from 'A Life Ascending,' winner of the award for Best Film on Mountain Culture in the 2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival. The film will be screened as part of Banff's world tour stop in Boone. Photo courtesy of The Banff Centre

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is coming back to the High Country.

Over the years, Boone has gradually become one of the three most attended screenings in North America, and this year marks its 15th anniversary in town.

Appalachian State University Outdoor Programs will unleash the inaugural Appalachian Adventure Achievement Award (A4) on stage during the film festival.

The A4 recognizes two young individuals who are role models within the outdoor community, contribute to social or environmental awareness in the area, and excel at their outdoor sport.
"One brand new thing we wanted to unveil is the A4," Rich Campbell, associate director of ASU Outdoor Programs, said. "We are identifying two individuals in their respective mountain sports, be it climbing, paddling, trail running, mountain biking, backpacking, mountaineering, etc. We want them to be mentors and advocates for their sports, as well as someone who is giving back to their community in some way."

The mountain sports are not limited to those previously mentioned. Snow sports, such as skiing, cross country and downhill, and snowboarding are included, as well as various kinds of adventure racing, too.

The A4 has two age categories: 17 and under and 18 to 24. Campbell said the only other stipulation is that the nominees must live in Ashe, Avery or Watauga counties.

"We aren't necessarily looking for the absolutely best paddler, though that would be great to get those kinds of nominations," Campbell said. "We're just looking for good people that are giving back and contributing their outdoor mountain sport."

The two winners of the A4 will be recognized on stage at ASU's Farthing Auditorium during the film festival. Organizers will recognize the 17 and under A4 winner on April 1, and the 18 to 24 A4 winner on April 2.

"One thing we want to do is personalize (the film festival) as much as possible," Campbell said. "Folks could take 5 or 10 minutes to think of some young people who are doing cool things in this community and make the Banff Mountain Film Festival a celebration of the High Country."

The winners of the A4 will walk off the stage with their hands full. Some of the prizes include a Patagonia R1 jacket, a gift certificate to one of the High Country's outdoor retailers, a power pack from Misty Mountain, and a season pass for next year at Appalachian Ski Mountain.

"Somebody is going to walk away with a little pat on the back and prize packages that say, 'You are doing some great stuff and keep it up," Campbell said. "Again, it's not so much about the prizes, although everyone likes a new jacket. It's really about celebrating these young people doing some of the things seen in these films at the Banff Film Festival."

The 2011 A4 is presented by Blue Ridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The A4 is sponsored by Appalachian Ski Mountain and Misty Mountain Threadworks.

The deadline for nomination submissions is March 18. Anyone can nominate an individual at

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour takes place at ASU's Farthing Auditorium on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2. The festival starts at 7:30 both nights. Tickets are on sale at Footsloggers in downtown Boone and at Farthing Auditorium.

The festival features the world's best films on mountain adventure, culture and environment. The films are selected from hundreds of entries submitted from around the globe. ASU Outdoor Programs chooses screenings designed to educate, entertain, and inspire the audience.

For more information about the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour or to nominate someone for the A4, click to

Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition

Voting for the eighth annual Footsloggers People's Choice Award begins on Friday, March 4, at 5 p.m. and ends on Friday, April 1, at 5 p.m. Winners will be announced at the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Visit the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts to view photos and click to to vote.

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