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Truth be told, we’re kind of freaking out. It’s mid-November, and there’s still not a flake of the white stuff in sight. But on an Aspen Public Radio roundtable over the weekend, Aspen Skiing Company’s Jeff Hanle assured us he’s not worried yet.  

In the meantime, beginning Thursday, November 18, there will be plenty of powder on screen at the Limelight Hotel during the second annual Hard Snow Film Festival—and if we’re lucky, on all four of our mountains by Friday morning. Showcasing the many faces of backcountry adventure through a lineup from amateur and professional filmmakers, Hard Snow was founded by fifth-generation Aspenite, mountaineer, and filmmaker Mike Marolt as a benefit for Aspen Alpine Club’s Nepal Relief Fund, following the devastating earthquake in 2015.

“The earthquake was our driving force for Hard Snow, which is still in place—as well as putting in an overall effort to improve the lives of people in the remote, under-developed areas of the Himalaya,” says Marolt, who has climbed and skied extensively in the country. “Just because the earthquake and subsequent devastation isn’t in the headlines any more doesn’t mean that the need isn’t there. It will take a long time for Nepal to fully recover, and that’s why an ongoing effort to help is so important.” 

The weekend of wishful watching will present films including Hike, by Martin Stoni, which features athletes Mitch Toelderer, Bibi Pekarek, Martin "McFly" Winkler, Flo Edenberger, and Lorraine Huber as they find adventures in their own backyards; Wild Scotland, a quirky short; and The Warmth of Winter, a powder tour through Japan.

“The festival is diverse. We show a lot of short films, with one or two features mixed in, so you see a lot of different filmmaking styles. And it doesn’t cost much,” says Marolt, who is currently working on a sequel to his feature documentary, Beyond Skiing Everest (available on demand via Amazon Prime). “It’s also just a really fun, low-key event to come together and watch unique ski mountaineering films. And, this year, it's a time to pray for snow and get stoked for the season!”

Marolt’s own Natural Progression will close the festival Saturday.

Hard Snow Film Festival
November 17-19, 7 p.m.
Limelight Hotel, 355 S. Monarch St.
$5 at the door

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