Trailbound Alaska Debuts at the Bear Tooth
Trailbound Alaska– a KMTA grant-funded film– debuted at the end of March to two sold out shows at the Bear Tooth Theater. The theme of trails was prevalent throughout the evening in both Trailbound Alaska and its accompanying featured films: Carol Seppilu’s Kilgaaqu and Lucy Bartholomew’s Running Out. All showcased the power of trails and how they have the power to connect us in amazing ways.
The Trailbound Alaska documentary is the brainchild of filmmaker Max Romey, who set out to retrace the Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT) in the summer of 2020 with a pair of running shoes and a sketchbook. The film follows Max and his friends on their journey to run the “Southern Trek,” an incomplete 120-mile section of the INHT that travels through the Chugach National Forest. The local group of runners who took on this challenge with Max include: Denali Strabel (a top 5 finisher in Mt. Marathon races), Lars Arneson (a competitive runner and paraglider), and Eve Van Dommelen (Max’s wife and anti-hunger advocate). Starting at Mile Zero in Seward, the runners adventure over mountain passes, through raging gorges, and impassable terrain, to go from Seward to Girdwood in a four-day push.
“For so many years, I failed to recognize the KMTA corridor beyond it being a highway on my way to Seward for Mt. Marathon,” explained Romey. “But after spending just a little time exploring, it has opened up an entirely new world for me. Between the history and landscapes and the ways the trails connect the two, you could spend an entire lifetime discovering this area and not get tired of it.”
Also present for the evening was one of KMTA’s partners Alaska Trails, who recently fundraised over $42,000 throughtheir partnership with Turnagain Training and its Race Across Alaska campaign. Organized by Turnagain Training owner and coach Heather Helzer, the Race Across Alaska Winter Challenge follows a completely virtual format where racers choose to log miles that equate to select point-to-point distances across Alaska. For example, the longest route option at 2000 miles is the equivalent distance from Deadhorse to Ketchikan. The shortest virtual route of 125 miles equates to traveling the distance from Anchorage to Seward. The proceeds from the race will support the efforts to make the Alaska Long Trail a reality. This visionary goal would connect and expand access to Alaska’s outdoor spaces for so many people, which is ultimately what Max Romey hopes to bring awareness to through this production.
“We are excited to continue planning new trails and connecting the existing trails in the KMTA area. Some of the spots where Max and his friends were hoping to see bridges in the movie really do have bridges there now!” Said Steve Cleary, the Executive Director of Alaska Trails.