From the opening frames of the latest film by Sweetgrass Productions the monumental scale of the subject fills the screen. In concert with vocals and orchestra the images swell with the music in pace with the magnitude of a very controversial issue and the mountain wilderness which surrounds it. Never one to shy from the dramatic filmmaker Nick Waggoner sets the stage with meticulous care, like the conductor of a great opera. At the heart of this wonderful documentary is the age-old question: Do we develop the natural world for our own purposes, for commerce and recreation or do we keep it wild? This debate which rages in the halls of the Canadian parliament pits the interests of ski resort developers against the opposition of environmental activists and in the balance lies the fate of an ancient alpine ecosystem called Jumbo Mountain.
A significant departure from his usual role as a maker of big mountain ski films Waggoner is plying his cinematic skills to tell a different kind of story. Unlike the “ski porn” movies that feature gratutitous action sequences of steep downhill descents through deep powder snow, Jumbo Wild is a film with a mission. Hoping to raise the consciousness of viewers to recognize the importance of conserving the habitat of grizzly bear and the protecting of scared land of native people Waggoner uses own passion for backcountry skiing to illustrate the intricate details of a political fight that has endured through much of his lifetime.
Jumbo Wild offers up a candid view into the controversy that has divided this mountain community in the Canadian Rockies for more than two decades. After a screening at the 2015 Banff Mountain Film in Alberta Waggoner sat down with me at the MacLab Bistro at the famous Banff Centre to share a bit of the story behind this beautifully crafted documentary.
The film Jumbo Wild from Sweetgrass Productions is now available on iTunes and Vimeo on Demand. You can learn more about Jumbo Mountain and this continuing controversy online at sweetgrass-productions.com/jumbo-wild
Our theme music is by Jake Shimabukuro. The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to fans like you on Patreon. For as little as a dollar month you can support this podcast and many adventure media initiatives covered here. For details visit patreon.com/joytripproject.
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