Words by Haåns
Photos by Charles Spina
Last week NSF Productions wrapped up their 2011 season with a private park shoot on their home turf of Avila. After almost a year of planning and coordination between MSSI's new marketing team and NSF, the mountain went all out, sparing no exceptions. Upon laying eyes on the hand drawn plans NSF and MSSI had settled on, Avila’s lead shaper Gaston Lefebvre (an experienced snowcat operator and Shakedown feature builder for the past 10 years) accepted without hesitation the task of building the most innovative/ambitious rail jib the skiing world has seen, along with the biggest step down jump built in Quebec to date with only one comment followed by a grin, "Who are the crazy f@#!'s who are going to hit this?"
The answer was a blend of NSF’s new rookie riders and a gathering of their more experienced veterans who flew in from out West for the shoot. "It's not often you get something this big in Quebec" said this year's European X Games gold medalist JF Houle. "It's nice to have this kind of shoot on our homeland. I can't believe it's May and we’re hitting a 100-footer in Quebec!"
JF wasn't the only one making the pilgrimage back home, as long time NSF rider and Laurentians local Laurent-Olivier Martin also flew in from Whistler the day before the shoot, making sure he wouldn't miss a moment of the action. Hugo Pelletier, Martin Boulais, Sebastien Chartrand, Vince Prevost and fresh new talent Nuka Choquette, Thomas Aubry and Alexis Lalonde (the latter of whom was the youngest of the bunch, and stood out with style that made NSF photographers Maxence Laflamme and Charles Spina click away with smiles from ear to ear) were also on hand, meaning that apart from a recovering Alexis Godbout (who is coming back faster than anyone thought), NSF had all of their riders in one place for the first time in five years of filmmaking.
After two weeks of pushing all the snow Gaston could find, Producer Jean-Francois Boutin and Director Robert Quinn finally saw their ambitious plan come to life. In the end a chiseled cheese block launcher with a 20-foot wide and 100-foot long landing separated by 75-feet of air from lip to knuckle was ready to be slayed. This provided the riders with enough hang time to stomp their tricks (along with the confidence to throw some new ones) without having to huck as they would normally would on the standard Quebec park jumps. Perhaps it was the bluebird sky that showed up every morning for the three ridiculously warm days, or the knowledge that medical assistance was standing by in the unpleasant event that someone got too um, excited, but one thing is for sure…the atmosphere was surreal.
In the end, hot dogs in hand, the NSF family, MSSI team and a few lucky spectators (mostly girlfriends, friends, parents, and Weezy, the unofficial moral mascot and chef), celebrated both the end of the season and the beginning of new friendships at what turned out to be (pardon the tackiness) a dream come true for many.
And if you’re wondering why haven’t gone into detail about the rail setup...that’s because you’re going to have to sit tight and wait for September to come along, when the still unnamed 2011 NSF movie will be premiering hopefully at IF3 followed by three additional premieres around Quebec.
For more info and updates on NSF Productions, be sure to check out their new Facebook fan page.