The upcoming Radical Reels Film Festival will feature the short film "Via Ferrata on a Mountain Bike," which chronicles Harald Philipp's descent of a fixed-rope climbing route in the Dolomites on a mountain bike. [Copyright photo / Manfred Stromberg]

If the recent dusting in the La Sals got you salivating for snow, a series of action-filled films at this year’s Radical Reels will certainly get you stoked for winter.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m., the Utah Avalanche Center-Moab will be hosting Radical Reels, a spinoff of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, at the Grand County High School auditorium, 608 S. 400 East. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the nonprofit Utah Avalanche Center and Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation, a Price-based nonprofit that specializes in the rehabilitation of raptors.

One of the tantalizing films, “Balloonskiing – Heimschnee,” is about five guys in the Austrian Alps who use a hot air balloon to land on tall peaks and ski down them. Another movie, “Degrees North,” shows skiers and snowboarders using paragliders at the tops of mountains in Norway.

Dave Garcia is a member of the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Moab and is helping to organize this year’s Radical Reels.

Garcia, a local river guide and no stranger to extreme films and adventure himself, hesitated a moment when talking about “Home Free,” a film about professional free-runner Will Sutton doing parkour on the Isle of Man.

“I’m watching a preview of it right now, and he’s crazy,” he said.

Beyond “Home Free,” Radical Reels 2016 features two adrenaline-fueled films that were shot near Moab and highlight some of the area’s many thrills, such as climbing, mountain biking and BASE jumping.

“Beat Down” features a slick soundtrack by the band Slayer, and showcases Moab resident Tyson Swasey demonstrating a combination of sports that some may never have seen before.

The other Moab-area film, “The Mysteries,” features climber Krystle Wright taking on Fisher Towers.

In addition to the two filmed near Moab, Radical Reels will also be showcasing eight other films.

“Via Ferrata on a Mountain Bike” is about a unique mountain biking trip to the Dolomites in Italy, following Harald Philipp’s descent of a fixed-rope climbing route. Another mountain biking movie, “Burning Mountains – Spitzkoppe,” chronicles three mountain bikers’ search for perfection, which they found in Namibia’s Spitzkoppe peaks.

“It takes place on red rock that looks like Moab,” Garcia said.

“Golden Gate” features Emily Herrington free-climbing El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Another climbing film, “Horse Shoe Hell,” features Alex Honnold, who has climbed Half Dome and El Capitan without ropes. “Japan by Van” features four backcountry skiers exploring Japan, while “Rey del Rio” is a film about kayaking over big waterfalls.

It is important for adventure seekers like those in the Radical Reels movies to have accurate weather reporting and terrain-condition updates, among other wilderness information, and the Utah Avalanche Center-Moab provides these tools.

According to Utah Avalanche Center forecaster Eric Trenbeath, the center gives winter backcountry travelers the tools they need to stay alive and have fun in avalanche terrain.

The La Sal Mountains are especially steep and avalanche-prone, so the services provided by the Utah Avalanche Center-Moab are critical.

Trenbeath said that the benefit film showing is a great way to have a good time while supporting two good causes.

Trenbeath said that funds raised from the film program help the avalanche center pay for remote weather station equipment and stipends for local field observers.

“We have a really dedicated group of winter backcountry enthusiasts here who volunteer a lot of their time so that we can provide reliable information,” he said. “This film showing goes a long way in helping us provide that.”

Like the Utah Avalanche Center, “Second Chance Wildlife Center is a nonprofit organization that works with a volunteer staff so they rely on fundraisers to pay for the efforts,” Garcia said. “Half their patients come from Grand and San Juan counties and they re-release golden eagles (at) Dead Horse Point.”

Trenbeath also praised the efforts of Second Chance.

“These folks are the true heroes,” he said. “It’s one thing to make the wilds safer for people to play in, but to rehabilitate living things and return them to the wild, that’s real work.”

Action-packed film festival on Oct. 8 to benefit avalanche center, wildlife rehabilitation

“We have a really dedicated group of winter backcountry enthusiasts here who volunteer a lot of their time so that we can provide reliable information … This film showing goes a long way in helping us provide that.”

When: Saturday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m.

Where: Grand County High School auditorium, 608 S. 400 East

Cost: $10 in advance, or $15 at the door


Tickets for Radical Reels are cash only and can be purchased for $10 in advance or $15 at the door. For more information, visit the Radical Reels Facebook page at: To learn more about local snow conditions, you can visit the Utah Avalanche Center site at: