With winter nearly behind us, we now find ourselves in the doldrums of the season. It’s the time then warm weather and spring seem just barely visible and yet totally unreachable. It’s at this point when you may find yourself accepting poor lifestyle decisions, like eating nothing but Chinese takeout while simultaneously bingeing on TV and refusing any activity that will take you out into the cold. What you need is a kick in the pants, a spur at the side, a little outside inspiration. We’ve got just the thing for you: a healthy dose of adventure that you can enjoy from inside your hibernation chamber.
Inspired by a 1968 van journey from Ventura, California to the bottom of South America, modern-day adventurer Jeff Johnson hops on a sailboat and heads south. Along the way he gets shipwrecked, surfs, joins a local protest movement and meets up with a venturesome cast of real-life characters including Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard and the late Doug Tompkins.
Amazon / Netflix Valley Uprising
Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and… climbing? Valley Uprising documents the counterculture movement that’s been cultivated on Yosemite Valley’s stark granite walls from the 1960s and ’70s to the present day. Self-proclaimed dirtbag climbers drawn magnetically to the valley tackle unthinkable routes and go toe-to-toe with local law enforcement. Viewers be warned: you might be tempted to quit your job, buy a van and head to California.
Amazon / Netflix Strange Rumblings in Shangri La
A ragtag group of the world’s most skilled freesurfers embarks on a quest to find wave utopia. The journey reveals unconventional surf spots like Iceland and Mozambique, and a loose narrative is creatively blended with surf action, gorgeous cinematography and an amazing soundtrack. The added total is a film that even non-surfers will appreciate.
Amazon / YouTube Valhalla
The snow-lover’s version of Shangri-La is Valhalla — a storied settlement deep in the mountains where the powder is always bottomless and the inhabitants are all beautiful (and sometimes naked). Valhalla’s plot may be fictional, but the sentiment is all too real: the never-ending search for snow is a search for fun, love and freedom. You don’t have to ski double-blacks to enjoy this film, and who knows, it may just rekindle your relationship with winter.
Amazon / YouTube unReal
Forget what you think you know about mountain biking. This collaboration by Teton Gravity Research and Anthill Films is all about breaking free from the confines of reality, a thesis exemplified in each segment of the action-packed film. Glacier riding, dirt jumps at night and California single-track (filmed in one take) all find their way into this unbelievable display of bike skill.