When it was created in 2013 the Mountain Story series at Teton County Library used the slogan “Where great adventure meets great writing.”
Over the 10 years that the library has been producing the festival, that has evolved into “Where great adventure meets great storytelling,” according to Leah Shlachter, the library’s adult program coordinator.
The presenters and workshops selected for the 2023 fest celebrate the many forms that storytelling takes, from printed word to digital mediums. For the first year the library is including a workshop on creating podcasts as well as a presentation on travel drawing.
“One of Mountain Story’s primary goals is to reveal the story behind the stories,” Shlachter said, “and how the adventures came to be by teaching craft skills. Such as what went in to making this photograph, how to get published, how to start a travel drawing journal.”
These days, she said, most people have high-quality cameras (video and photograph) and sound-recording devices right in their pockets. And with the internet there are many ways to share creations that are outside the traditional publishing realm.
“Mountain Story aims to give people the skills, knowledge and confidence to utilize whatever tools they have on hand to tell their story,” she said.
Also noteworthy for 2023, Mountain Story will feature all local presenters and contributors.
“Even the film ‘Buried’ had valuable footage taken by longtime Jackson local Lanny Johnson, who was involved in the 1982 Alpine Meadows avalanche,” Shlachter said. “Jackson is lucky to have a community of so many talented and generous creators.”
The coronavirus pandemic forced the library to be nimble and adaptive the last few years, but Shlachter said this year’s Mountain Story programs are officially back to their normal operating protocol, though some programs may also still be live-streamed and recorded.
“We’re constantly adjusting to the changing times with library programming,” she said. “In the past we’ve pretty much had full attendance at events. Workshops are smaller and more intimate classroom settings.”
This year the festival will feature a presentation by Don Carpenter, owner and operator of the American Avalanche Institute for 12 winters, at the library’s Alta branch. He will tell about 1,200-mile bike ride around the perimeter of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and his many trips into its core and various wilderness areas by foot and boat.
Melinda Binks and Matt Hansen will lead an introduction to podcasting workshop, with a focus on sound and editing as they share their experiences with their podcast, “The Fine Line.”
Hansen has been a professional editor and writer for 25 years, producing content from breaking news, essays and profiles to in-depth feature stories that demanded months of research. For 16 years he was an editor and writer at Powder Magazine. Today he is the communications director for the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation.
Binks is a camerawoman, producer and director based in Jackson who has worked in film and television, including the awarding-winning film “Africa’s Daughters” and the “Right to Know/Right to Decide” series produced for Oxfam America.
Wendell Locke Field will share his experiences and self-practice of observation as an artist and traveler in a presentation in the Ordway Auditorium on Feb. 2, coinciding with the opening of his exhibit, “A Painter’s Journey,” in the Library Gallery. The show’s oil paintings, watercolors, travel drawings, woodblock prints and multi-media work depict scenes from Field’s travels in the Andes, the Himalayas and the Sangre de Cristos to the Northern Rockies.
Free tickets for “Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche” will be available online with a library card. The documentary will be followed by a panel discussion with Drew Kneeland, who has worked with Jackson Hole Ski Patrol for over 30 years, and Lanny Johnson, who contributed footage to the film. Johnson worked as avalanche control and Ski Patrol at Alpine Meadows from 1979-86 and as a climbing ranger in Grant Teton National Park during the summers of 1981-89.
They will be joined by Jen Reddy, who volunteers with Teton County Search and Rescue and serves on the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center Foundation board and the steering committee for the Teton Backcountry Alliance, and Mike Rheam, the avalanche hazard reduction leader for Jackson Hole Ski Patrol and a forecaster for the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center.
Lewis Smirl will also be on stage. Smirl is a mental health therapist who specializes in various therapeutic areas, including trauma-based treatment. He works on a special team that provides direct care to Teton County’s first responders to help them increase their resilience and mitigate trauma.
The final workshop of the series will feature National Geographic photographer Sofia Jaramillo, who from her home in Jackson focuses on telling stories of under-represented groups and disrupting traditional narratives in the outdoor space.
To sign up for workshops or claim tickets for “Buried,” visit TCLib.org/1375/Mountain-Story-2023. ￼