iF3 is the Way to Be

IMG_3306Each year members of the ski industry and community convene in Montréal for iF3- the International Freeski Film Festival. The filmmakers, editors, producers, and athletes come to showcase the films they have been working on over the course of the year and some even display creations they’ve been working on for many years. Fall is the season for ski film premiers to get everyone stoked for the upcoming season. After a weekend jam packed with films, anyone who passed through the Imperial Theatre is more than antsy for winter.

The weekend kicked off on Thursday night with an outdoor screening of a few short films sponsored by The North Face on a small street off of popular Rue St Denis. The music could be heard a few blocks away- leading us to the square like a beacon. The square was packed with all those eager to see pretty powder turns and hardcore park tricks from their favorite pros.

Friday evening is when things really started to get going. Thursday was just a tease. The immense theater slowly filled up. There were no “reserved for” sections, so those who made the films and those who starred in them were mixed amongst the crowd. Ski film premieres are not quiet occasions. The crowd gets involved and is part of the immersive experience. They cheer for progressive new tricks, wince at a nasty fall, and shout for technical powder runs which seem as if the skier is floating down a massive peak. In my opinion, the best film from this screening wasn’t the one with the biggest tricks or containing the most famous skiers. Skillumanati are a group of skiers from Latvia just trying to make a name for themselves. They show a very raw side of urban skiing and their determination to keep going no matter what.

The theater was a bit quieter for the first screening at 11 am on Saturday morning as the Spy sponsored party had gone late into the night. There was still a healthy showing of people despite the “early” morning start. The next session was probably my favorite featuring “The LOSt” by Legs of Steel and much anticipated “Valhalla” by Sweetgrass Productions. “LOSt” featured big mountain skiers tackling, well, big mountains in a very in your face rock star fashion. It was followed by the two year project of Sweetgrass Prod., “Valhalla.” This film was different than any other ski film I had seen as it told a fictional story of a community of skiers living the perfect mountain life. These fictional characters were played by professional skiers. It wasn’t, as one athlete described most ski films, “just one big music video with skiers in it.” It actually told a story, skiers or non-skiers could enjoy. For me it was the utopia of skiing. I was so absorbed with the beautiful images of skiing and the peaceful ways of mountain life. Things then really picked up at the later showing featuring the films from Poor Boyz Production, “Tracing Skylines,” and Stept Productions, “Mutiny.” These were definitely hits with the younger crowd looking for the urban and park skiing. The theater then emptied as people went to get ready for the Rocker Party sponsored by Sean Pettit (one of the athletes), and Red Bull to end out the long day of visually stimulating films.

I have been to many ski film showings in my life, but iF3 was by far the coolest way to view the films as the athletes and filmmakers were watching right alongside of us all. Not only do you just sit near them, but you can interact with them. They love hearing you loved their segment. They also love to hear your stories. You’d be surprised how many skiers got their start on the East Coast, and they love hearing about the small mountains that helped them get where they are today. For anyone who appreciates mountains and respects the athletes who dominate them- iF3 shouldn’t be a question. It’s a must. The event is held annually and has begun to expand globally. There are now showings in France, Austria, Chile, and British Columbia.

– Shelby Adams, Business Major, Official Blogger, Fall 2013