5 Outdoor Adventure Films to Watch this Winter

Shoul­der sea­son is the time when top out­door adven­ture film stu­dios thrill audi­ences with top ath­letes, far-flung loca­tions, and daz­zling set pieces. As out­door cin­e­ma con­tin­ues to evolve, adven­ture films are no longer only about the sport, as they mas­ter­ful­ly weave breath­tak­ing cin­e­matog­ra­phy, sto­ries, and out­stand­ing sound­tracks. The list below is a small selec­tion of cre­ative out­door film­mak­ing that is read­i­ly avail­able for view­ing.

Dodo’s Delight
Cross a climb­ing film with a musi­cal and you get the whim­si­cal ‘Dodo’s Delight’, a mot­ley crew of musi­cians and climbers led by Sean Vil­lanue­va O’Driscoll. In the name­sake sail­boat, cap­tained by the Scot, Rev­erend Bob Shep­ton, the crew makes their way from Green­land to Baf­fin Island in search of first ascents on mas­sive walls. The actu­al climb­ing, how­ev­er takes a back­seat to the drink­ing, singing, and shenani­gans of the crew in their lit­tle boat, as it reminds us that adven­ture doesn’t always have to be tak­en seri­ous­ly.

The Crown Tra­verse
Ultra-run­ners Mike Foote, Mike Wolfe, along with pho­tog­ra­ph­er Steven Gnam, set out on a 600-mile jour­ney to run from Mis­soula, Mon­tana to Banff, Alber­ta, span­ning a rugged, ser­rat­ed land­scape and only min­i­mal­ly sup­port­ed. Along the way they encounter white­out con­di­tions, dicey climb­ing, and exhaus­tion as they trav­el through a sparse, unfor­giv­ing, but ulti­mate­ly extra­or­di­nar­i­ly spec­tac­u­lar ter­rain.

The Fourth Phase
Snow­board super­star Travis Rice had a dream of fol­low­ing a set of cur­rents across the North Pacif­ic, to hit three loca­tions at the peak of their pre­cip­i­ta­tion. The team starts in Japan, shred­ding pris­tine waist deep pow­der, then head towards the Kam­chat­ka Penin­su­la of East­ern Rus­sia, where they shack up at the foot of an erupt­ing vol­cano, and to Alas­ka, where they take on spines, knife ridges, and razor-thin couloirs. The film, whose title refers to the fourth phase of water after sol­id, liq­uid, and vapor, is gor­geous­ly shot and filmed in stun­ning 4k.

The Grand Siber­ian Tra­verse
Every fall, there are a bevy of ski films from the usu­al stu­dios, Match­stick Pro­duc­tions, War­ren Miller, and Teton Grav­i­ty Research (who cel­e­brate their 21st film this year). But one film, from Sher­pas Cin­e­ma, asks the ques­tion, “What if Wes Ander­son made a ski film?” Ingrid Back­strom, Cal­lum Petit, and Nick Mar­ti­ni trav­el over 6,000-miles across Siberia to find untouched pow­der and dis­cov­er skiing’s his­toric ori­gins. The Great Siber­ian Tra­verse is a unique and fas­ci­nat­ing look at ski­ing in a way that’s rarely touched upon.

Fledg­lings
It’s dif­fi­cult to cat­e­go­rize ‘Fledg­lings’; it’s tru­ly in a cat­e­go­ry of it’s own. Climbers Cedar Wright and Matt Segal want­ed to take their adven­tures to the next lev­el, so they learned to paraglide. If there’s a film about being a cool, con­trolled, pro­fes­sion­al athlete—this film isn’t it. Filled with sketchy land­ings, mid-air col­li­sions, and fly­ing off a Mex­i­can vol­cano after hav­ing learned to fly for only six months, Fledg­lings is a side-split­ting romp through the jour­ney of what it’s like to be an over­ly ambi­tious begin­ner.