I finally watched Steps after allowing it to collect dust on my Vimeo queue for months. Writing that I notice how I quite like the virtual collection of dust far more than the actual ones, such as those on my books at the moment.
Anyway... now I am happy I waited so long to watch it. First it is stunning. It isn't like most things I watch that can be played in the background while I am doing chores or clearing my inbox, it actually needed to be watched. Secondly, it is slow, subtle and in subtitles. The documentary interviews very thoughtful winter sportsmen and I would have done myself a disservice if I hadn't given them my full attention. And third, the music is excellent but I think I only could have appreciated it so much beside the gorgeous cinematography.
Steps is a documentary following snowboarders and skiers who have a deep connection to and appreciation for the mountains and hence are concerned about climate change. They testify to the changes happening in the Alps and share their commitment to a more sustainable practice of their sport. From minimizing their carbon footprint at home, to walking up the mountain (ergo steps) to avoid emissions producing vehicles the athletes stopped the contradictory behavior that is melting the snowy peaks. Some even sacrificed a professional career to avoid extensive air travel. The film was even shot in a "climate friendly" manner without the use of helicopters and the like.
I really like that the foundation was an ethical, self-imposed obligation. And I find it inspiring that even thought the idea of individual "carbon-diets" are widely criticized as having little impact these athletes chose to make sacrifices for the mountains they love anyway.
The title, Steps, speaks directly to the hours of steps the riders take to surmount the mountain just to ride down once in just seconds. But it also speaks to the steps each person must take, the behavioral change involved, to create a sustainable planet.
Check out the trailer below and the full movie available online for a donation (or not).
There is also a breathtaking time-lapse collection.