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Take a Bite Outta Climbing: Seeing Biscuit the rock-climbing wonder dog in a film at Banff is far preferable to looking down and seeing him beneath you on K2.

Bold Mountain

The Banff Mountain Film Festival takes sports documentaries to the extreme

By Mike Connor

If humans weren't so addicted to vicarious thrills, the "extreme" fad never would have caught on. But we are, so it did, and now we've got Exxtreme Fruit Roll-Ups that "literally set your mouth on FIRE when you eat 'em!" But on the plus side, we've also got the Banff Mountain Film Festival, probably the most insanely, death-defyingly diverse collection of high adventure ever, full of incredible documentary footage that puts the backflips back into heli-skiing and the "free" back into climbing.

Of course there's all the crazy dangerous stuff, from kayaking in Iceland (Falling) and solo free climbing (Front Range Freaks: "Dirty Bird" Derek Hersey) to mountain biking madness (ROCKSTARS!--One Steep Planet) and awesome alpine stunts (High Life).

But there's also a bunch of feel-good subjects, like the soccer game in Bhutan between the two lowest internationally ranked teams (The Other Final), or the documentary of the penniless Yugoslavian Olympic skier (Janica Kostelic), and another film about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone (Cost of Freedom). (The festival benefits the UCSC Wilderness Orientation Scholarship Program.)

And then there's Biscuit, the rock-climbing Jack Russell terrier, in a cute little class all by himself (Front Range Freaks: Biscuit).

All 13 films will hit the big screen of the Rio Theatre in two separate programs. For a complete list of film synopses, visit www.banffmountainfestivals.
ca/tourhost/na/films/. To purchase tickets, call the UCSC Recreation Department at 831.459.2806. Tickets are $12 general and $10 students, and can also be purchased in advance at Bugaboo (831.429.6300) and Pacific Edge Climbing Gym (831.454.9254).

The lineup of films for this year's Banff is as follows:

Saturday, Feb. 21, at 7pm

Janica Kostelic (Skiing); Self Titled (Mountain Biking); The Other Final (Mountain Soccer); Parahawking (Paragliding/Falconry); Front Range Freaks: "Dirty Bird" Derek Hersey (Free Climbing Tribute/Obituary); Falling (Kayaking)

Sunday, Feb. 22, at 7pm

Wehyakin (Kayaking); High Life (Skiing/Snowboarding); Eiger North Face--In the Footsteps of Its First Climbers (Alpine Climbing); ROCKSTARS!--One Steep Planet (Mountain Biking); Cost of Freedom (Endangered Wolf Documentary)

Unlimited Winter (Cross-Country Skiing); Front Range Freaks: Biscuit (Jack Russell Terrier Rock Climber)

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From the February 18-25, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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