For both Telluride festival and Mountainfilm on Tour, short films and videos are essential. Here is a treasury of favorite Mountainfilm shorts from our festival archives.

Cold Rolled

In recent years, Telluride has seen a spate of fat bike riders. Strike that. In recent years, Telluride has seen a spate of bicyclists who ride bikes with super fat tires, some as wide as 4.5 inches. These bikes navigate winter trails that have long been the sole province of skiers and snowshoers. Cold Rolled is the first film to capture this sport, and its footage is from near Lake Superior, where the long winters make for great fat biking.

Coming Home

Aly Nicklas grew up in Alaska, two blocks from the lifts of Alyeska. She quit high school and moved to the mountains of Colorado to pursue her lifelong dream of competitive snowboarding. But by 2004, at the age of 21, she had suffered at least 10 concussions. The symptoms were stacking up: memory problems, seizures, depression and trouble speaking. So she put her board away. Eight years later, she strapped on a board and helmet and returned to the slopes.

Coming up for Air

This visually crushing short film by legendary cold-water surf photographer Mickey Smith might be classified more appropriately as a poem. Disturbingly heavy waves, documented at high frame rates, are rendered in icy tones and narrated with sparse, humble words.

Creative Compulsive Disorder

A fatal hiking accident in Ouray, Colorado, cut Zina Lahr’s artistic life short. Shot as a video for her portfolio, this short film now serves as a fitting tribute to a creative who will continue to touch people with her effervescent nature and work.

Dubai - A Skier's Journey

A desert oasis beckons. Is it a mirage, or is that really a chairlift? Talented filmmakers Jordan Manley and Daniel Irvine has been following skiers around the globe for years for their series “A Skier’s Journey,” but in this episode, they’ve stumbled across a strange location for rippers. Ski Dubai is a small hill with a 200-foot vertical rise that’s built into a luxury shopping mall in the largest sand desert on the planet. Massive air-conditioning fans whir to cool the single slope, while temperatures outside soar above 100 degrees.

Marshland Dreams

Once the largest ecosystem in the Middle East, and the rich homeland of Sumerians for millennia, the Mesopotamian Marshes were destroyed systematically by Saddam Hussein so that they couldn’t shelter rebel forces. Drained and burned, the vital wetland habitat seemed lost forever. Iraqi exile Azzam Alwash, who spoke about his work at Mountainfilm in 2004 and 2008, never accepted that this magical place of his childhood could simply cease to exist.

The Weight of Mountains

The Weight of Mountains

We should never take mountains lightly. Because, as this short film makes beautifully clear, the processes that combine to create, sustain and, ultimately, destroy the world’s mountains are elemental, powerful and deep with meaning — meaning that may exceed our capacity to measure. One line from the narration captures the essence of mountains perfectly: “All the good and evil things that happen in the world are of no consequence to the magnitude of their scale.”