Words by Jeff Schmuck

Photos courtesy of iF3

The International Freeski Film Festival, better known as the Nike iF3, officially began last night in picturesque Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The sixth installment of the biggest and best ski film festival in the world brings skiers from all over the world together each and every September and acts as the kick off the winter, with a multitude of epic world premieres, hip-hopping and hard rocking after parties, and general all-around merry making.

iF3 Outdoor Village

Last night, the festival's festivities began with one of the most well-loved and symbolic aspects of iF3, The North Face Outdoor Screening. Under a warm and clear sky in the new and improved iF3 Outdoor Village, a throng of athletes, filmmakers, industry types and fans congregated as one to take in the first feature presentations of many over the course of the next three days.

The North Face Outdoor Screening

Up first was a quick look at iF3 Santiago and the Sony Eye of the Condor, followed by an upcoming episode of Salomon Freeski TV from Switchback Entertainment, Quarter Past Midnight. The webisode, which received a highly verbal nod of approval from the crowd, features some high tech backcountry night skiing, as athletes outfitted with LED light suits make their way down the mountain in the dead of night in what can only be accurately described as freeskiing's version of Tron.

The iF3 Hosts, Rafael Regazzoni and Luke Van Valin

Up next was the latest entertaining and informative travel and culture-based offering from b4apres Media (makers of Azadi:Freedom), Jalpak Tash, which documents a backcountry mission in every sense of the word in the remote confines of Kyrgyzstan with The North Face athletes Mike Hopkins, Leah Evans and Izzy Lynch.

b4apres Media's Jalpak Tash

Once the webisodes concluded, it was time for the first feature-length film of the festival, Legs of Steel's Hurt So Good. The third heavy metal-induced offering from the Austrian-based crew HAS to be seen to be believed, with highlights including a truly wicked opening segment from the hard charging animal Sven Kueenle, an innovative urban part shot on a Phantom camera of Max Hill, Lolo Favre and Sig Tveit set to Marilyn Manson's cover of Sweet Dreams, and a balls to the walls closing segment on a beyond massive road gap, where in addition to the core of Legs of Steel crushing it alongside their song choice, Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart, showcases Frej Jonsson exhibiting the unique style and trickery that he unveiled to the world at JOI, and Jossi Wells unleashing quite the possibly the biggest and smoothest zero spin ever done.

Legs of Steel introducing their new film, Hurt So Good

Up next was the first kick at the can from the unique European-based project, Junkies on a Budget, JOB In Space, which consists of five separate film crews who were given the same amount of budget to go forth and create their own diverse segments. The results of this interesting concept were a hit with the crowd, with some impressive matrix-style filming from Vecom Video (the company behind Kevin Rolland and Xavier Bertoni's Follow Us), a unique perspective on Nico Zacek's Nine Knights, and an art house-style segment from Winter Project, all of which were intertwined with an appealing story line of an astronaut trying to get back into space after his rocket crashes in the Alps.

Nico Zacek introducing Junkies on a Budget's JOB In Space.

Following the premieres, Alpine Initiatives kicked off a trio of parties at the Nike iF3 by throwing a fundraiser as the official iF3 Launch Party, which was convenient located right across the street from the iF3 Outdoor Village. As the evening progressed, a laundry list of industry who's who and a legion of fans filed in, and proceeded to drink and dance the night away in anticipation for the coming winter and everything that's still to come this weekend.

The Alpine Initiatives iF3 Launch Party...

Alpine Initiatives' JP Auclair

Let's party!

Max Hill, Red Bull's Fergie Cancade, Sean Pettit and Leigh Powis.

Tyson Hall, JF Cusson and Tanner Hall.

iF3 President Felix Rioux with the DJs.

The sixth annual Nike iF3 continues today with the latest offerings from Chaoz Productions, Toy Soldier Productions, Inspired Media Concepts, Level 1 Productions and more, followed by a hip-hop themed after party with performances by All Star, Rahzel and the legendary Mix Master Mike. Stay tuned to Newschoolers for more coverage, and for more information on the Nike iF3 and/or to purchase tickets (which are still available), head on over to iF3.com.


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