January 14, 2014

Chasing Ice - Our Favourite Documentary this Season

Every year on the trail, we discover as much from our guests as they do from us, especially about goings-on in the wider world.  Often, there’s a book or a documentary that everyone is talking about, and in 2013 it was “Chasing Ice,” a terrific movie about shrinking glaciers.  Since all the critics have just released their "best movies" lists, here's our choice for the last year.

Crowfoot Glacier, Banff National Park, 1920s

Crowfoot Glacier, 2004
We’ve watched the decline of ice here in the Rockies for over twenty years, and the archival record for Banff and Yoho shows really dramatic changes.  But in “Chasing Ice,” celebrated photographer James Balog and his crew set up time lapse cameras in Alaska, Greenland and Iceland, and you can watch with your own eyes as ice vanishes in the space of months and years.

The movie swings between pure adventure -- setting up cameras in polar and alpine areas takes great courage and chutzpah -- and visual proof of our changing climate.  It is impossible to see this film without being strongly and viscerally affected by its message, especially as it builds to its rivetting visual climax, the largest calving event ever filmed, at the Ilulissat Glacier in Greenland. Spoiler alert: this sequence is the most dramatic moment in the film, and the bigger the screen you can find to watch it on, the better.