B-I-G Backcountry Thank You!

As the whirlwind from the 2016-2017 Backcountry Film Festival brought a plethora of snow throughout our winter program season, we would like to reflect back on where it all started this season with a big ‘ole – ‘THANK YOU’ to the greater Sandpoint community and beyond for starting this season off right!

vdga4okdnqh9ferp3u5qffytugmodbtkweluffmezeoerarxx1-xer-ntpqi2_wcfe2kinqkoze_dqawnhqbgk

Throughout the evening on December 2nd 2017 over 430 people help SOLE raise essential funds for our 2016-2017 SnowSchool Experience  program season, while joining us to celebrate our film SnowSchool: A Winter Wildlands Experience that was selected as a finalist in this year’s Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival.

Check out what the ‘buzz’ is all about by watching our SnowSchool film below!

We are still reeling from the experience of it all, and are quite humbled.  Especially since this is the first time a SnowSchool has been shown in the 12 years that the Backcountry Film Festival has been touring.  What an honor!  Oh yeah, did we mention?  It will be shown at over 100 locations worldwide.  SOLE’s annual fundraising event is held before each winter season at the Panida Theater to help SOLE raise critical funds for our SnowSchool Experience  program where we currently serve over 500 youth each season.

g39hifj3nmadzvqjj2sbia2xpnvunks5urmgamh36ooDuring this seasons event attendees helped us raise over $5,000 during our most recent event! Funds raised assists SOLE in providing this intentional and transformational programming to local area youth most of whom live in poverty and have never had an opportunity to explore and learn in their winter wildlands via snowshoe.  We are truly honored and grateful to have the support and opportunity to teach in such a wonderful setting.

 

gyrpelkeq5g9oorjvkthelnmcfgzt8a6u9zvyjuohewThe reality is we could not do the work we do without our corporate and community sponsors and partners.  Once again both stepped up at this year’s event contributing awesome schawg and gear for our Rockin’ Raffle and Holiday Silent Auction where attendees could bid on novel gifts and prizes.  In addition, event attendees were able to interface with present and former SnowSchool students from Clark Fork Outdoor Track and Northside Elementary School at informational booths.  Being new to SOLE it was wonderful to see everyone having a good night, while giving their genuine support for this community and what we do!

In closing, it is important to note – without each of YOU our annual SnowSchool Experience program would not be possible.  We appreciate your continued support and hope that you will join us again next year on December 1st, 2017 at the historic Panida Theater in beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho as we strive to ‘reach and teach’ even more youth!

Hope to see you out on the snow!

Maegan Ward
SOLE Outreach Coordinator | Field Instructor
maegan.ward@soleexperiences.org

SOLE-Ful Seven Series: An Interview with Erik Olson

img_4549Erik lives in Sandpoint with his wife and 2 kids, a daughter in 1st grade and a son in 2nd. As an active member of this community, Erik is Principal of Farmin Stidwell Elementary School (where all the 5th graders go to SnowSchool) and has been a member of SOLE’s board for a couple years with a strong passion for the outdoors.

 

MW: What brought you to SOLE?
EO: I moved here from Greenbay, Wisconsin, and I grew up where NOLS is (Lander, Wyoming). We used to call them NOLS-ys; they were the tree huggers! When I was asked by Joy to be a part of SOLE, strictly because I was part of the school community, I was staggered by the amount of kids who had never been on Schweitzer, so giving that opportunity to the kids was awesome. It’s interesting too that SOLE has this unique opportunity to give this to the kids, and I like seeing the level of engagement that our kids had with SnowSchool.

MW: What is your favorite part of being in this community? (Sandpoint/N. ID)
EO: I grew up in the outdoors, in the Windriver Range near Lander, WY, and I had outdoor opportunities growing up. I would drive up the mountain and ride my mountain bike whenever I wanted, but the mountains weren’t right there; you had to drive 2 hours to get to them. So I decided with my wife and kids that we wanted to be where we had the opportunities that are available here and now we take advantage as much as we can.

img_4376MW: What is your favorite Outdoor Experience? Most memorable?
EO: I have two, I was the tripping director at a YMCA camp and I was in charge of the offsite trips. Through that experience we had a lot of foreign staffers and I connected with this fellow from Australia, a crazy Australian climber. I was pretty into climbing at the time and growing up in Lander, it was a huge climbing community. He wanted to go climbing and so we road tripped and drove to Devil’s Tower. We slept in my car and then climbed it. It’s technical climbing but I trusted him so much; it took us about 6 hours to climb, 8 hours total. It was a huge experience that I just loved.
The other one was I was involved in scouting, and we had a great, active Boy Scout group. Our leader would give us so many opportunities to go on hikes. I was young, and I had the opportunity to go The Boundary Waters, and it was awesome. We canoed forever.

MW: What is your passion in the outdoors? Favorite recreational activity?
EO: I like it all! Moving here I definitely have taken up skiing, my family we weren’t really avid skiers but took it up. I do a lot of trail running, and from time to time mountain biking. In WY it is cold so in the winter we hunker down, so it’s a nice change of pace. The whole family skis now!

MW: What are you most excited for this season?
EO: I definitely love the SnowSchool piece, I am glad the district is picking up those loose ends because it has been so positive in this community and for those kids. I love that SOLE is getting exposure not only in this community nationally and beyond (because of our film SnowSchool: Exploring our Winter Wildlands being selected as a finalist in the Winter Wildlands Backcountry Film Festival)

img_4645MW: What has been your favorite SOLE experience so far?
EO: Picking up trash! Kidding. No, my kids have been in the Junior Naturalist Program for a couple summers, and when they come home from that experience they want to go back. My daughter was 5 and she didn’t want to go, but after three days she wanted more, and ended up going to the week long program later.
I also love the Backcountry Film Festival. It’s a good chance to expose SOLE and its mission to the public.

MW: Do you have a favorite Deschutes beer? Which one and why?
EO: Mirror Pond Pale Ale is pretty good. Inversion. Fresh Squeezed. It’s all good! I am an IPA guy, so any IPA I am good with.

 

Get to know Erik and the other board members at our SOLE-Ful Meet & Greet: A Pre-Backcountry Film Festival Event. It will be a great opportunity to see what SOLE has lined up for the winter, a chance at a ‘sneak peak’ of our film SnowSchool: Exploring our Winter Wildlands (to be featured in the international Backcountry Film Festival), as well as a look into the phenomenal silent auction and raffle prizes, all while enjoying some tasty brews from Deschutes Brewery. See you there!

 

Maegan Ward
Outreach Coordinator | Field Instructor
maegan.ward@soleexperiences.org

SOLE-Full Seven Series: An Interview with Kevin Knepper

kevin-knepper-head-shot2In the continuation of the SOLE-full Seven Blog Series, we have Kevin Knepper, another newer board member who wants to make a difference in this community. He works with several organizations, and lives on a ranch outside of Sandpoint with his family and a large amount of rescue animals.

 

MW: What brought you to SOLE?
KK: Joy and I have a relationship through the school district. She sits on my board (with another organization), and she has been talking about it for a while. I have a passion for anything kid related.

MW: What is your favorite part of being in this community? (Sandpoint)
KK: It’s really a wonderful place to raise our kids. That is why we came here. I like the small town vibe. There is a lot that comes with that but we could talk about that for hours.

MW: What is your favorite Outdoor Experience? Most memorable?
KK: We are a big horse family. I ride a lot and ski all winter long, but the greatest and hardest thing I have ever done was hiking the Grand Canyon 4 days in and 4 days out with 2 other guys. I don’t do men’s trips, my free time is what my wife wants to do and she kind of forced me to go. She said it would be good. I spent 8 days and had no contact with my family. It was physically hard and emotionally difficult. There was a lot of self-examination and it really helped me find out what was important to me and what I want to do better. I also ended up buying a chair for future trips because there was nowhere to sit for 8 days. It’s a tiny little chair that I can carry from REI.

kevin-dutsMW: What is your passion in the outdoors? Favorite recreational activity?
KK: Riding horses in the summer and skiing in the winter. We have a lot of horses. I like to just take off and trail blaze. Horse doesn’t need a trail. We just head up a mountain and the horse will take you. Although, sometimes you find yourself on the edge of a cliff. I am a hobby rancher. We have about 30 animals, all rescues except for the horses. Basically we get all the stuff that no body wants and they come to our house.

MW: What are you most excited for this season?
KK: I would like to see it (SOLE) take off a little bit, so it is ultimately sustainable, providing services for kids and adults. A year from now I would like us to be healthier, whether that is larger, or more operating reserves, just healthy, successful and sustainable. It’s fun to do something that is your heart not your badge.

MW: What has been your favorite SOLE experience so far?
KK: Three of my daughters have been to SnowSchool when they were in fifth grade. If they are on the mountain they will mention it, they still belly slide on the mountain when they get bored on black diamonds when skiing.

MW: Do you have a favorite Deschutes beer? Which one and why?
KK: Mirror Pond Pale Ale. I like a pale ale, not too hoppy.

Get to know John and the other board members at our Sole-ful Meet & Greet: A Pre-Backcountry Film Festival Event. It will be a great opportunity to see what SOLE has lined up for the winter, a chance at a sneak peak into the phenomenal silent auction and raffle prizes, as well as enjoy some tasty brews from Deschutes Brewery. See you there!

 

Maegan Ward
Outreach Coordinator | Field Instructor
maegan.ward@soleexperiences.org

Get Stoked for Winter While Doing Some Good!

Grab your skis and a buddy and get ready for some serious fun!  SOLE’s Annual Fundraiser – the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival celebrates its 11th Anniversary!  This community event is aimed to inspire winter adventurers to seek the snow less traveled, while bringing critical awareness of the work we, and others, are doing during the winter months throughout the Inland Northwest. Produced by the Boise-based nonprofit, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Backcountry Film Festival makes its world premiere in Boise, Idaho and will then tour to more than 100 showings around the world, including a stop in good ‘ole Sandpoint, Idaho!

 

WP_20141205_002

Location: Panida Theater | Sandpoint, Idaho
Date: December 4th, 2015
Time: Doors: 6:00 PM | Show: 7:00 PM
Tickets: $10 General Admission ADV; $12 DOS | $20 Donation Ticket (includes 3 raffle tickets)

This annual event is a community favorite!   With a series of award-winning and juried films, all which celebrate the human-powered experience, a great silent auction with great holiday gifts from local vendors and gear vendors like Big Agnes and G3, fun raffle prizes, and great local brews this is a family-fun experience tailored to showcase our great community!

What makes this showing unique?  Well, it’s really simple we earmark ALL event proceeds directly towards supporting SOLE’s SnowSchool Experience SM Program at Schweitzer Mountain and beyond.  Your support allows us to get local area youth out on the snow to explore > achieve > lead through this transformational experiential education program.  Event proceeds will continue to provide essential gear, logistical support, and teaching supplies.

This showing of the Backcountry Film Festival will be of special importance. Centered on our mission to provide transformational experiences outdoors for local area youth, SOLE will continue to host this event to raise critical funds for our SnowSchool Experience SM Field Campus at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, as well as pilot programs at other site locations.  Currently, SnowSchool Experiences SM are offered for all 5th graders in Lake Pend Oreille School District, and will be expanded to include programming services for Lake Pend Oreille High School and Clark Fork Junior High School / High School Outdoor Track which will be highlighted during this year’s event as an effort to bring awareness to this program and our communities educational needs.  In addition, SOLE works with other private, public, and homeschool groups throughout the winter at various other field campus sites in the Inland Northwest.

During the 2015-16 school year SOLE aims to work with 300 + local area youth in SnowSchool Experience SM program.  With an average poverty rate of 60 – 97 % at most area schools our financial needs are noteworthy.

BCFFThe Backcountry Film Festival is renowned for its mix of professional and grassroots films – from well-known filmmakers who search backcountry corners across the globe to submit their best work to first-timers who take a video camera out on their weekend excursions.  The festival was created in 2004 to highlight Winter Wildlands Alliance’s efforts to preserve and promote winter landscapes for human-powered users. From a single showing in Boise that first year, the festival has grown to include showings in locations throughout the United States and Canada and now in Antarctica, Europe, Australia and Asia. Funds raised stay in local communities to support like-minded, human-powered recreation and conservation efforts and to raise awareness of winter management issues, avalanche training/safety and winter education programs.  Come take the ride and support a great cause while doing so!

The Line-Up


12108848_1033868520010442_7734080898357595900_nFilm Descriptions:

  • Japan by Van immerses us in the head-deep powder of the Shirakawa backcountry. A Sweetgrass Productions film.
  • Shared Lines features the story of Vermont Backcountry Alliance and their community in a short film by T-Bar Films.
  • Shifting Ice, from filmmaker Kt Miller, is an all-women team on a journey at the intersection of scientific exploration and, of course, grueling fun.
  • The Weight of Winter, filmmaker Ben Sturgulewski brings us a ride to tune in, sit back, and enjoy.
  • I Love Splitboarding, a fresh way to play in the backcountry along with a fresh way of living. A film by Right on Brother opens up the world of splitboarding.
  • 55 Hours in Mexico, in true tribute to weekend warriors, Joey, Karl, Thomas, and filmmaker Max Lowe take us on an adventure of 55 Hours in Mexico.
  • Always Above Us, gives us a glimpse of the tremendous amount of sacrifice and hardship involved in the life of a climber. Sherpas Cinema follows Kris Erickson and Conrad Anker in a memoir for David Bridges and Alex Lowe.
  • Connections, the Dynafit team shares the story of the simple “low tech” design that changed the face of backcountry skiing.
  • The Forecaster, expert Avalanche Forecaster Drew Hardesty leads by example, paying respect to the responsibility that comes with our backcountry freedom. From Spindle Productions.

Tickets:


Advance ticket purchase is recommended.  SOLE offers 2 ticket levels for this event:

  • $10 Advance General Admission Ticket (includes 1 raffle ticket); $12 DOS
  • $20 Donation Ticket (includes 3 raffle tickets – and puts a local area youth on the snow for a day!)

Tickets will be available at the following local businesses:  Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters, Alpine Shop, Eichardt’s, and the Panida Theater and online SOON!

Can’t go?  Make a donation today!

DONATE NOW

Sponsorship:


Let’s face it – there is no better way to showcase your business or organization than to become a Backcountry Film Festival or SnowSchool Experience SM Program Sponsor!  Intentional programming of this magnitude is downright expensive, as is hosting fundraising events like the Backcountry Film Festival.  As such, SOLE offers several sponsorship options to ensure that we are able to funnel event proceeds directly towards program expenses to provide these transformational experiential programs for our local area youth.  As a result of your support, we are able to unplug and reconnect more local area youth to the outdoors to explore > achieve > lead!

Corporations, businesses, and individuals can also sponsor a specific student, class, school, youth program or entire SnowSchool Experience SM Field Campus by providing in-kind and/or financial support!  This allows you to have the benefit of doing some good for our youth while getting some exposure for your business!   If you are interested in any of these options or to learn more please contact us or view our Backcountry Film Festival Sponsorship Packet to showcase your business while doing some good!

Read More >>