Krista Halsnes plays with one of her dogs earlier this winter. Halsnes was just featured in a documentary titled "Sled." The documentary, by The Film Dailies, won the second annual Spirit of the Outdoors Film Festival earlier this week.
Steamboat Springs Krista Halsnes wasn't sure how she'd react under the glitz and glamour of the cameras and lights.
But placed in her natural setting of sled dog racing, and the 15-year-old Steamboat Springs High School student was a star.
The Film Dailies, a Denver based film- and music-making trio, got in touch with Krista during the winter to see if they could do a documentary about her. Then, in early March, filmmakers Molly Cherington, Michael Lloyd and Hannah Vanderlan made the trip to Steamboat Springs for a weekend. The crew filmed Krista in Columbine running her dogs, as well as in the local family's home.
"It was definitely a different experience," Krista said. "I got used to it pretty quick. I was comfortable in front of the camera. I was pretty much winging it and going with the flow."
The Film Dailies entered the five-minute film, called "Sled," in the second annual Spirit of the Outdoors Film Festival - a Boulder-based festival that celebrates the outdoors.
Earlier this week, the film was named the winner.
"We took a look at an incredible person doing something extraordinary in the outdoors," Cherington said. "I have a personal interest in dog mushing and an interest in dog mushing in Colorado."
It was that personal interest that led Cherington and The Film Dailies to Krista in the first place.
Cherington is the cousin of Susan Butcher - the most accomplished female Iditarod musher ever.
Krista said throughout middle school, she did a fair share of projects about Butcher.
When she found out about Cherington's connection to Butcher, it made the process all the more easy.
"I've always been inspired by Susan," Krista said. "I guess I found out just after I met these people. I was very comfortable with them, and it was pretty easy."
Cherington said the reception to the film has been great so far. She said the five-minute format works well and that they're starting to research more possibilities and secure funding for a potential longer film about Krista.
Until then, Krista will continue to train her dogs in preparation for next winter. That includes taking them on mountain biking trips to Rabbit Ears Pass, walking them constantly and letting them swim.
Krista plans to compete in multiple dogsledding competitions next winter and is throwing around the idea of competing in the Junior Iditarod. She said that at some point, she hopes to do the full Iditarod. Competitors must be 18 years old to compete in the full Iditarod.
"We're excited about the outcome of the festival. We're excited about Krista," Cherington said. "She's just an incredible young woman."