We’ve all been witness to the classic them-versus-us scenario of mountain development in the name of economic progress. Jumbo Wild, a new film by Sweetgrass Productions and backed by Patagonia, digs into the story of Jumbo Glacier Resort, a proposed ski resort development in British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains. On the surface, the Jumbo story is a classic development versus conservation battle like those playing out on many levels all over North America. The Jumbo story is different in that the roots and stakes run remarkably deep on all sides of the debate – it’ a divisive tale that has been on-going for 24 years.
The film opens with Nick Waggoner, filmmaker, describing the familiar black and white narrative of developer comes to town to wreck the wilderness but moves to unfold the deeper ideological aspects of the many sides of the debate. It’s “a dream or nightmare, depending on the glasses you are wearing,” Waggoner says. Jumbo Wild tells many familiar stories: the dream of the developer, questionable government practices, endangered habitat, sacred landscapes. The film also encourages understanding and reflection on what wild places mean to different people.
Waggoner and his Sweetgrass crew are best known for their somewhat poetic approach to making ski films. With Patagonia’s support, the team immersed themselves in the controversial Jumbo Ski Resort issue last winter in search of a deeper story and to share more than the classic black and white narrative of land use conflict. Jumbo Wild shares the thoughtful nature of Sweetgrass’ previous work, but it is far from a hedonistic ski film. It’s a call to appreciate wild places.
Key players on all sides of the divisive debate are given a voice, including the developer with the dream, Oberto Oberti. Waggoner gives the Italian born Canadian-based architect, Oberti, plenty of room to share his dream and explain his approach to the mountain as cathedral concept.
Of course, mountain as cathedral rings true on both sides and there’s plenty of heartfelt perspective to be heard from the conservation side of the debate as well. More than just sharing two sides and weighing in against a development that has yet to see a clear path in either direction, Jumbo Wild is about connecting with wild lands and facing the difficult decisions that are not going to go away with the blocking or the completion of the Jumbo Ski Resort.
Check out the trailer and look for the full film coming to a mountain shop or theater near you.
Jumbo Wild screening schedule
OCTOBER 10, 7:30 PM Patagonia Vancouver free
OCTOBER 16, 7:00 PM Feathered Friends Seattle, Washington free
OCTOBER 17, 7:30 PM Patagonia Portland Portland, Oregon free
OCTOBER 18, 8:00 PM Patagonia Bend Bend, Oregon free
OCTOBER 23, 7:30 PM Patagonia Boulder Store Boulder, Colorado free
OCTOBER 29, 8:00 PM Patagonia Meatpacking New York, New York free
OCTOBER 30, 8:00 PM Patagonia SoHo New York, New York free
NOVEMBER 1, 8:00 PM Patagonia Boston Boston, Massachusetts free