Let’s face it, Christmas TV is rubbish. Stuffed with random repeats and prime-time ‘blockbusters’ we’ve all seen many times the schedules are hardly worth browsing these days. As Springsteen once said: 57 channels (and nothin’) on.
But over on Netflix there’s a refreshing range of indie films and documentaries that never make it on to the main channels.
So if you find Christmas TV tedious and want to get inspired to take some new adventures next year, take a look at my pick of the ten best outdoor adventure films on Netflix this Christmas.
Valley Uprising (2014)
In the shady campgrounds of Yosemite valley, climbers carved out a counterculture lifestyle of dumpster-diving and wild parties that clashed with the conservative values of the National Park Service. And up on the walls, generation after generation has pushed the limits of climbing, vying amongst each other for supremacy on Yosemite’s cliffs. “Valley Uprising” is the riveting, unforgettable tale of this bold rock climbing tradition in Yosemite National Park: half a century of struggle against the laws of gravity — and the laws of the land.
Into the Wild (2007)
After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.
Finding Traction (2014)
Finding Traction presents the inspirational story of ultra runner Nikki Kimball and her quest to become the fastest person in history to run America’s oldest hiking trail, the 273-mile Long Trail. The documentary asks what drives her to attempt such an incredible feat, and follows Nikki’s journey from its beginning – training and racing in the Rocky mountains – to her actual record attempt through Vermont’s beautiful but brutal Green Mountains. Throughout the film, Nikki’s crew and support team provide an intimate portrayal of the courage, grit and passion behind her record attempt, and interviews with the world’s leading evolutionary biologists, including Bernd Heinrich, author of “Why We Run,” shed light on the science and psychology behind Nikki’s incredible race against time.
Tales by Light (2015)
Behind every powerful image is a powerful story. Uniting exploration, photography and the natural world, Tales By Light follows photographers from Australia and around the world as they push the limits of their craft.
Jeremy Jones’ Higher (2014)
Backcountry snowboarder Jeremy Jones will leave tracks on signature lines in the close-to-home playgrounds he’s made his own in Jackson Hole and Lake Tahoe, while also making history with far-flung first descents in the Eastern Alaska Range and the Himalayas of Nepal where the stakes are as high as the peaks themselves.
Jeremy Jones’ Further (2012)
FURTHER: the second installment in the DEEPER, FURTHER, HIGHER trilogy. FURTHER will explore some of the world’s most remote mountain terrain while continuing Jones’ mission to camp deep in the backcountry and on the summits of unridden lines to access nearly vertical spines and wide-open powder fields. Join Jeremy and his crew as they push their minds and bodies FURTHER.
14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.
Austin to Boston (2014)
5 old VW’s. 4 bands. 3 thousand miles. 2 weeks. 1 gloriously backwards tour. Featuring Ben Howard, The Staves, Nathaniel Rateliff and Bear’s Den.
Life in Extremes (2014)
Three exceptional athletes in the demanding field of extreme sport are followed. They fly along cliffs, dive without oxygen into the depths of the sea and prove the capabilities of the human body during the longest endurance bike race. What motives and thoughts have made them into modern day heroes? What causes the fascination for individuals who expose themselves to exceptional risks? The movie follows these people in the attempt to find the limits of performance. We get to know their environment, their companions, but also listen to critical voices. We hear the desires and fears of the families and venture, through the inner circle of friends, into the psyche of the athletes. And what motives are important for these pursuits? Is it the lust for fame? For immortality? For the absolute life experience?
The Barkley Marathons: The race that eats its young (2014)
In its first 25 years only 10 people have finished The Barkley Marathons. Based on a historic prison escape, this cult like race tempts people from around the world to test their limits of physical and mental endurance in this documentary that contemplates the value of pain.