Adventurer of the Year: Vote for the People’s Choice Award

For the last eight years, National Geographic has combed the globe to find Adventurers of the Year, each selected for his or her extraordinary achievement in exploration, conservation, humanitarianism or adventure sports.

This year, Nat Geo focused on people who are adventure innovators: a surfer riding giants, a skier landing the first sit-ski backflip, a mountain biker pedaling across cultural boundaries, a BASE jumper falling from space and others. Out of their 10 adventurers this year, three have been guests of Mountainfilm in Telluride (Josh Dueck, Shannon Galpin, and Renan Ozturk), where we hope you had the opportunity to meet them in person.

From now until January 16, 2013, Nat Geo invites you to vote (once a day if you like) for the person who you think best embodies the spirit of adventure. The one with the most votes will earn the new People's Choice Adventurer of the Year.

Wilderness Crunch: Northern States Feel it Most

We love the outdoors at Mountainfilm in Telluride, but a new study, “Outdoor Recreation in the Northern United States," shows that America's growing population and increasing interest in the outdoors is straining state and federal recreation areas, particularly in the northern states. The research, commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service, looks at 20 states in the north — extending from Maine to Minnesota and from Missouri to Maryland — and concludes that while the area’s population growth was less than the rest of the country, there will still be a conflict for land and water resources, especially when it comes to outdoor activities.

In this northern region, approximately 90 to 94 million people age 16 and older engage in outdoor recreation that ranges from hunting and fishing to orienteering, kayaking and mountain biking. The most popular activities are pretty tame: walking for pleasure, family gatherings outdoors, viewing/ photographing natural scenery, visiting outdoor nature centers,gardening or landscaping, and picnicking.

Kayaking and Creativity: Still Evolving

It's not easy to make a compelling film about climbing or skiing, but of all the adventure pursuits producing high-quality films about kayaking may be the hardest. The sport itself is inherently challenging to film, and the shooting locations are often remote waterways with few stable platforms upon which to place a camera. Go-Pro helmet cameras have certainly helped give audiences a closer look at what is happening on the water, but kayak films are still evolving.

An Interview with Author Dan Buettner: What Makes People Happy?

The environment, social issues and adventure are three of the big themes at Mountainfilm in Telluride, and like many of this year’s guests at the festival, best-selling author Dan Buettner encompasses all three seamlessly into his work.

Buettner wanted to understand why certain people in particular areas of the world lived longer, healthier and happier lives, so he traveled across the planet to get answers. The result is The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, which examines how people live and how lifestyle affects lifespan. The book focuses on four areas — Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; and Loma Linda, California — and demonstrates that everyday factors were involved, such as food, friends and perspective.

The Nat Geo People’s 2012 Adventurers: Jon Turk and Erik Boomer Don’t Scare the Wind

Nearly 72,000 people voted for National Geographic Adventure's People's Choice Adventurer of The Year for 2012. The winners are Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa, who with second-hand equipment, a tiny budget and no corporate sponsors, climbed Everest, descended with paragliders and paddled to the sea — an adventure they called “The Ultimate Descent.”

Some other finalists are familiar to Mountainfilm in Telluride audiences: Nick Waggoner of Sweetgrass Films with Solitaire, bike rider Danny MacAskill from Way Back Home and Cory Richards from the Charlie Fowler Award-winning film Cold.

New Trailer from Sweetgrass Productions: Solitaire

Official new trailer for Solitaire, the latest for Mountainfilm regulars, Sweetgrass Productions.

SOLITAIRE: A Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding, and Telemark Film from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.

From Sweetgrass Productions:

The Heart of Adventure: Q&A With Kayaker and Photographer Chris Korbulic

Born and raised along the Rogue River in southern Oregon, First Ascent kayaker and Mountainfilm 2011 special guest Chris Korbulic has been on the river since before he could walk — and it shows. He’s now one of the most accomplished expedition kayakers in the world, walking the thin line at the limits of the sport and looking to go even further. With a life on the river and camera in hand, he has a unique ability to capture stunning whitewater images.

In an interview with Korbulic on the First Ascent blog, we dove deeper into questions of adventure and action. Here's a teaser:

Last year, you and Ben Stookesberry tackled a tough expedition to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). What inspired you to take on this kind of expedition?

Scandinavian Adventure: Q&A With the Baffin Babes

Some of our special guests this year are hailing all the way from Scandinavia: the Baffin Babes. If you're not familiar with these adventurous ladies, the Baffin Babes are four Scandinavian women who, in 2009, skied 1,200 kilometers across Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Their adventure faced them with everything from 40 below weather to hanging with polar bears. We caught up with Baffin Babe Emma Simonsson to learn more.

What inspired you to put together this expedition?

Our love and passion for the outdoors, and a dream of living among the nature for a longer time. Also the attraction of adventure, where you seek challenges and push your own limits.

What was the hardest part of the expedition? What was the most rewarding?

Minds of Mountainfilm 2010: Explorer and Environmental Advocate Josh Bernstein

Prayer flags blowing in the windEach Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.