Words: Pippin Lee

Photos: Felix Rioux

As the fall leaves amass in fiery red and orange piles throughout the streets of Toronto, the biting cool starts to creep in during the early mornings with the late rising sun. Frost starts to grip the tips of the early morning grass as the red mercury drops into the blue region. With the first stop of the International Freeski Film Festival: On The Road tour rolling into town, the white season was on the minds of many in Toronto this past Saturday at The Royal Cinema.

With the ‘Kay-beker’s’ Felix Rioux and JF DuRocher having just successfully completed IF3 Europe, Toronto was in the headlights as the place to be this past Saturday. When the doors opened, fervor and anticipations filled the lobby of downtown Toronto’s Royal Cinema, as movie goers passed by tables of goodies and picked up their passes and tickets. Toronto was ready to rock, and clearly the people were ready to get some good old fashion pre-season stoke going as the season looms not far in the distance.

The Royal Cinema lobby.

The On The Road portion of IF3 presents itself as a unique and personal event. To some that grew up in the age of tirelessly rewinding and rewinding and rewinding tapes on their VHS player through the entirety of their collection of ski films, and even those dressed head to toe in tee’s appearing voluptuously tall, it lends an intimate atmosphere where boisterous yapping is the norm. It’s a fine point of instilling inspiration that spreads every winter to the young eyes in attendance. Deep, well worn seats and the lingering smell composing of butter dripping popcorn and other sugary concessionary goods were all just the start of the energetic ambiance at the theatre as the film projector fired into life. The notorious Tom Dolezel and Nick Patano manned the MC’ing responsibilities on the microphone and just like that, the projector started rolling, as did the excitement as the first films rolled along.

As the credits starting rolling for Meathead Film’s Work It Out, the animated talk of those in attendance drew lots of attention to the relatable cast of characters of the east coast film company and their superb jib trickery. As the day grew on, the marathon of ski films grew in grand style, and so did the theatre, as more and more seats were filled. The eyes of those who filed into The Royal Cinema beamed, as deep powder and dazzling jib skills of an endless stream of top-notch ski talent glazed across the screen. The atmosphere of the young and old as the films flowed along grew tantalizing, seeing a huge diversity of the ski culture from the greatest steeps skied to the touching exploits of a young spiky-haired kid named Tanner Hall in Like a Lion.

The excitement didn’t stop between films, as Tom and Nick jumped on the microphones and gave out enough swag and free gear to fit a small army, as well as a pair of skis, thanks to the rad people at the local ski shop Sign of The Skier. As woeful eyes watched the last film, MSP's The Way I See It, the atmosphere was anything but sad. The eagerness for the white season to be upon us, to have to dig down into the closet to find that other ski sock and to have to clear the snow from our windshields, was alive. As many generations before have, the annual ski flicks have instilled an undeniable high level of stoke in those that wish to be inspired and create something from our sport on the hills and mountains.

IF3 Toronto co-organizer Jane Curtis, Newschoolers’ JP Fortier and IF3’s JF DuRocher.

For this kick ass event you can give a big high-five for their hard work to Jane Curtis, Justen McKenzie, Charley Ballantyne, James Knowles, the two that wielded the microphones: Tom Dolezel and Nick Patano, along with the tirelessly working JF DuRocher, Felix Rioux and JP Fortier for coming to Toronto to make sure everyone was leaving with a smile on their face.

IF3 On The Road would also not be possible without the tremendous support from The North Face, Salomon, Nike 6.0, Newschoolers.com and SBC Skier. A big thumbs up also has to go to all the local support from Squire John’s, Swiss Chalet, Gates & Boards, Sign of The Skier, Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Blue Mountain Resorts, Sir Sam’s Resort and Middle Clothing.

See you in Vancouver on November 20th!