Living in the shadows of the Selkirk mountains has a way of isolating us from the rest of the world.
We head out into the backcountry with nothing but our skis and our friends, and the hustle and bustle of the city seems non-existent.
But when Sherpa Cinema’s embarked on their acclaimed project All.I.Can. they attempted to link the backcountry surrounding Nelson to regions that seem very distant.
“When you go out and camp and ski, which is what we were doing in a lot of countries, we were just camping in the backcountry,” said Eric Crosland, half of Sherpa Cinemas.
“That was similar from country to country. But the cultures are really diverse and that’s why you go there.”
It took Crosland and Dave Mossop two years of jumping between six continents to create All.I.Can.
They travelled from the desert peaks of Morocco, to Greenland, Chile, Alaska and back home to the streets of Trail, Rossland and Nelson.
All.I.Can. went beyond big jumps and epic powder to linking skiing with the environment.
Crosland said that although he hasn’t personally witnessed major changes to the environment, skiers are deeply tied to the mountains and forests they enjoy.
“I just think you’re so attached to the environment as a skier, as someone who recreates outside a lot, it was just something that was on my mind,” he said.
Like most creators, the blood, sweat and tears poured into a project may often feel like the go unappreciated.
Year after year the Sherpas had been submitting films to the Banff Mountain Film Festival but were being “skunked” with every effort.
“We’ve had films in the Banff Film Festival, a film a year for almost eight years, but it’s really hard to win stuff there. Typically they just pick mountaineering films like hardcore mountaineering films, so for an action sports movie to do well there is really hard because it’s not really the main theme of the film festival,” said Crosland. “We all grew up in Calgary so it was our backyard. It was a really big to the people that live there because the Banff Film Festival is such a big deal. It was cool winning an award there because we’ve been skunked so many times.”
All.I.Can. took home the big prize of best feature-length mountain film at the Banff Film Festival, which was added to a series of other accolades like best cinematography from ESPN.com, best film of the year from the Danish Adventure Film Festival and best ski film from the Fernie Ski and Snowboard Film Fest.
“It was incredible to see the reception,” said Crosland. “By the time we were done the movie our eyes were bleeding. We were so done we didn’t know if anyone would like it because it was such a weird format. All the hard work actually paid off.”
Kootenay skiers have taken a special interest in the movie that goes beyond their love for the mountains.
Crosland said all the powder shots were done between Nelson and Revelstoke.
A segment showcasing urban skiing featuring professional skier J.P. Auclair-which was shot in Rossland, Trail and Nelson-has gone viral on the internet, and the Sherpas also spent the day with local Mary Woodward and her group of keen skiers.
“I just think there is great history of action sports film making in Nelson,” said Crosland. “I learned a lot from working with all those people here and it really helped in making the movie.”
The Sherpas haven’t taken a break since the success of All.I.Can. They are already busy getting their next movie going.
“It’s based a little bit off of the water cycle, and the psychology of the skier,” said Crosland. “We know we have to start it right away. It’s a movie target but we feel like the ball is rolling.”