Where did you spend New Year’s this year? If you’re like me, you might have been curled up on a couch with a beer and a movie. If you’re more adventurous, maybe you were out at a bar with dim lights and champagne, or standing on a friends’ rooftop taking in the fireworks. If you’re really adventurous, and maybe a little bit crazy, you were deep in Bears Ears National Monument, picking your way through iced-over canyons and slurping hot ramen in a parking lot.
This film is about the third kind of person.
With treasured places like Bears Ears being dismantled by the current administration, these canyoneers’ annual tradition—a frigid trip through the slot canyons of Bears Ears spearheaded by the one trick pony himself, Steve Ramras—became a little more poignant. After Trump’s December 4 announcement, White Canyon and all its tributaries are no longer protected as national monument land.
For 15 years, Ramras and friends—and a few strangers, usually—have rung in the new year in true desert dirtbag style in White Canyon. It’s a tradition that runs on the strength of outdoor adventures to bring people together, and on a real, powerful love for the desert. This short film by Dan Ransom gives viewers a chance to look back on years of Freezefest—the tradition’s tongue-in-cheek title—with Ramras himself.