Banff film festival sees climbing interest

The Banff International Film Festival was last week, and it gave the UNB Rock and Ice Club a chance to climb in it’s membership.

One of the many women climbers at the competition. Photo: Shawn Goff
One of the many female climbers at the competition.
Photo: Shawn Goff

The festival has been around since 1976, showcasing films about mountaineering, hiking, climbing, and other activities. The selected, award winning films are presented in the festival which visits around 305 cities in 20 different countries annually.

The film portion at the Fredericton playhouse was a sold out show, indicating Frederictonians may be interested in trying a new winter activity, rather than ice hockey or curling.

Shawn Fairweather explains how the festival operates. Photo: Shawn Goff

UNB Rock and Ice Club President Shawn Fairweather hinted at a connection between the success of the festival and an increase of attendance at the club’s indoor climbing gym.

“Climbing is a great sport, great to get into. It’s not like a team sport so you don’t have to compete with anyone else,” Fairweather said. “The movements are awesome, climbing outdoors is even more fun. So the gym is kind of an intro to climbing outdoors.”

The club’s Saturday climbing event saw over 50 attendees packed into the gym’s small viewing area. Different climbing courses were set up as members drilled plastic rocks into the walls. Both men and women could compete at beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels.

Competitors arrived from all over New Brunswick to try their luck and see if they could get into the finals. Prizes were given out, and a raffle was drawn so those who didn’t make it into the finals could go home with something special.

Club member Evan Miller said there were so many competitors and viewers, he could hardly move.

“On the one hand, it’s hard to find a spot to climb. But on the other hand there’s a lot of good moral support and really good atmosphere too,” said Miller.

Evan Miller explains the benefits he gets from the club. Photo: Shawn Goff
Evan Miller explains the benefits he gets from the club.
Photo: Shawn Goff

While there was competition afoot, Miller says he climbs to get fit, and for his mental health.

“I do it for both of those things,” said Miller. “I really like to push myself and climbing is a really good tool for that. It also helps me get in shape and relax… lots of stuff.”

With the festival being so popular this year, Fredericton is poised to see it make another bigger, better visit in the future.