According to local lore, the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride was born 27 years ago as an alternative to the more froufrou Telluride Film Festival. After watching the "other" festival cater to Hollywood clientele and art-house cinema, a group of outdoorsmen decided to organize a fest of their own. Their goal, as noted on the Mountainfilm website, was to "capture their passion on film and share it with the community."
"It was pretty much a dirtbag climber's response to the Telluride Film Festival," explains media coordinator Drew Ludwig.
From its crude origins, Mountainfilm has grown into a highly anticipated annual event, functioning as a sort of tribal gathering for those involved in the mountaineering world. Last year's version drew some 1,500 attendees; organizers are hoping even more show up this time around, as they've assembled what they feel is their best lineup to date. Though films will screen today through Monday at four Telluride venues, things really get started at the Moving Mountains Symposium, which begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow. During a day filled with presentations by special guest speakers on the twin themes of sustainability and survival, the symposium will address pressing environmental and social issues.
Once participants are properly schooled on the benefits of sustainable lifestyles, they can take in an ice-cream social and a hockey game played on unicycles.
"The films are great, and the programming is awesome," Ludwig says of Mountainfilm, which also includes readings, gallery exhibits and student programs. "But this festival is more about the conversations you have on the sidewalks, the people that you meet."
Ticket prices and movie times vary; for information, call 1-970-728-4123 or go to www.mountainfilm.org. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Jump, Set and Spike
The USA Volleyball Open brings in the big hitters.
At about 8:01 a.m. today, shortly after the national anthem has filled the Colorado Convention Center, more leather will fly than it does during the average rodeo weekend.
And for the next eight days, volleyballs will ricochet around forty courts as the USA Volleyball Open Championships unfold in marathon sessions. This annual gathering of adult players includes teams from abroad and features multiple levels of competition, divided by age, gender and even height. But what unites them all, according to USA Volleyball's George Egan, is a love for the sport.
"Most are former college players, but they are all high-level competition players, including age levels up into their seventies," says Paul Soriano, a USA Volleyball spokesman.
Admission is free, and spectators are free to roam. A word of caution, though: Keep your eyes peeled, or risk getting conked by an errant spike. Matches continue until approximately 10 p.m. at the convention center, 700 14th Street. The competition continues through Saturday, June 4.
For information, call 1-719-228-6800 or log on to www.usavolleyball.org and click on "adults" and "championships." -- Jerri Theil