The Woodsrider

Sadie Ford is a 19-year-old living life on her terms. A non-traditional path, but hers. She lives a rather solitary existence with her dog Scooter as her primary companion. Sadie lives an outdoor life around the town in Oregon called Mount Hood largely in a nestled tent site during the winter. It is obvious this is where her heart is – in the outdoors whether she is snowshoeing or snowboarding down the mountain.

Some might not understand her choices. Her choice to have very few possessions, live a life largely outdoors without the usual modern comforts and away from other humans. When she does want human interaction she boards with a friend or comes into town for a house party.

Bottom line is that she is a happy person. Happy with her choices. Simplicity is what she craves and achieves. The only time throughout the 83 minutes of the documentary which Sadie seems unhappy is when the weather turns warmer and snow becomes rain.

It is not the usual scenario to see someone so introspective, especially at such a young age. The Woodsrider is also an inward looking viewing experience which prompts you to think about man and nature, identity and what does the word home mean. Also that it is possible, if you want it, to live a life in this very technology based world which is simple and based in the natural world.

Director Cambria Matlow has matched the mood of her subject. Her film does not judge or attempt to shade the portrayal of Sadie. Atmospheric yet personal piece of work. What I really respect is the Matlow does not ever sink to filling the silences. And there are plenty of them in The Woodsrider. Dialogue is few and far between. No narration is done. As such you do not feel any awkwardness while watching a largely silent film.

Another strong point of the documentary is that its subject is a rather ordinary (yet different) person. Not a superhero or someone who has dones something amazing. Rather it shows a rather evenly paced everyday life of a young woman. We just follow a young person as she is trying to figure out her path in life. The solitary moments contrasted against the parties in friends’ condos. How a young person is not just about the speed and daredevil nature of snowboarding, but is very linked to the spiritual nature of boarding down a hill.

You can get the film on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Xbox