What’s the most exotic location on earth to shoot a mountain bike film? This question has a lot of answers and can mean many different things to different people. But if you were to put this question to a group, it’s unlikely you would hear anyone utter the name Bhutan. Not because Bhutan isn’t exotic — it certainly is. But it is because the country is relatively unknown to most people. It has only recently, in 1974, opened its borders to tourists.
More and more people visit the country every year. But in Bhutan’s mountain ranges, there are still places where no outsider has ever set foot. The country is located on the eastern slopes of the southern Himalayas and is home to some of the highest peaks in the world. The locals consider the upper reaches of the mountains in this legendary range to be spiritual places reserved for mythical creatures such as the Yeti.
This is the backdrop for Clever Bears Productions’ new film, Chasing the Yeti.
As the film opens, freeride mountain bike legend Darren Berrecloth recruits two other legends — Casey Brown and Cam McCaul — to join him on a trip to Bhutan in search of the Yeti. They readily agree and together embark on an adventure rife with hardship and self-discovery.
Their search will take them through ancient mountain villages and over high altitude passes where no tourist has ever set foot before. Not surprisingly, the group’s chosen method of transportation is by mountain bike. And who better to venture into the unknown by bike than three of the world’s top freeriders.
It’s more than just great riding
Casey Brown, Darren Berrecloth and Cam McCaul are names familiar to most mountain bikers. They’ve appeared in numerous mountain bike films and competitions. In Chasing the Yeti, they do some amazing riding, surrounded by amazing scenery, in places where no one has ever ridden a mountain bike before.
But there is more to the film than just the riding. Obstacles and experiences challenge the group and help them discover things about themselves.
They are challenged both physically and mentally by the harshest of elements. These include high altitude, freezing temperatures and long, physically taxing days of riding and hiking. Against these obstacles, Casey, Cam and Darren must push up and over high mountain passes. And confront what they consider their physical and mental limits.
The group is also challenged culturally and are made to reflect on what it really means to be happy. Bhutan is one of the least developed countries in the world. From an economic standpoint, people there have relatively little when compared with the west. But despite that, it is one of the happiest, most peaceful and least corrupt countries in the world. This is in contrast to how most people in western countries gauge happiness. As a result, the stars of Chasing the Yeti begin to look inward and reflect on what makes them happy and why.
If you’re looking for an mountain bike film where you can just zone out and watch some great riding, this isn’t it. There is great riding and scenery to be sure, but there is also much more. As Casey Brown, Darren Berrecloth and Cam McCaul discover things about themselves, viewers are taken along for the ride and afforded the opportunity for some self-discovery of their own.
Chasing the Yeti is available now on iTunes.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the film!
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