The maker of a cinematic 2013 short film publicizing Marquette, Michigan’s groomed snow bike trail have taken on another U.P. silent sport as the subject of his next film: the rich history of ice climbing in nearby Munising. And filmmaker Aaron Peterson is using Kickstarter to crowd source the finances needed to complete the two-year movie project.
On February 7, Clear & Cold Cinema released a two-minute teaser video for the Michigan Ice film, due to be released in winter 2016. Michigan Ice, in it’s final 15- to 20-minute run time, will share the untold story of the history, geology and wild natural beauty of the Lake Superior shoreline near Munising. The teaser can be viewed here.
Munising, with a population of 2,500, is home to the Grand Island National Recreation Area and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The town boasts one stoplight, six bars and 100 named ice climbs within 30 miles, making it one of the largest concentrations of climbable ice in North America.
The film will weave the stories of the region’s original climbing pioneers with tales from some of climbing’s more well-known current athletes.
The film will also feature the increasingly popular Michigan Ice Fest, which brings around 500 climbers to tiny Munising every February for four days of learning, presentations, giveaways and hijinks. The film will also look at how ice climbing is helping sustainably reshape the winter economy of the region through active travel.
Clear & Cold Cinema is the vehicle for photographer and filmmaker Aaron Peterson to share stories of the Lake Superior region. (Peterson’s photography frequently graces the cover of Silent Sports, including the current issue. He shot the cover of the December 2014 issue, too, and several more excellent examples of his work covering fat biking, snowshoeing, the Noquemanon Ski Marathon, winter kayaking and sled dog racing accompanies the story “U.P. dreaming” inside that issue.)
Joining Peterson in the making of the Michigan Ice film are Mike Wilkinson, Dan Englund and Ryan Stephens among others.
The filming of Michigan Ice began during the brutal winter of 2013-2014 and at the peak of what came to be known as the polar vortex. The 32,000 square miles of Lake Superior froze for the first time since 1996. While the weather was harsh and filming conditions were less than ideal, it made for some stunning ice and filming opportunities.
In late 2013, Clear & Cold Cinema released the 20-minute documentary Cold Rolled which traced the history and culture of winter cycling in Marquette, Michigan, that led to creation of the world’s first system of dedicated winter singletrack for fat bikes.
That film, sponsored by Salsa Cycles, was a runaway success on the web, was shown at Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado, screened in the Banff Mountain film competition and featured on Outside Television.
To finish the second film about U.P. ice climbing, Peterson and his crew are seeking support for their Kickstarter campaign.
“We are also pursuing outdoor industry sponsorship and response has been positive,” Peterson said in a press release. “We feel the success of a crowd sourcing campaign will show potential sponsors the energy and excitement around this project.”