8 Things You Missed at the International Freeski Film Festival (iF3)

International Freeski Film Festival (iF3)
iF3 Face­book

The ski film genre is evolv­ing. It used to be that a ski movie con­sist­ed of a series of action seg­ments sand­wiched togeth­er, accom­pa­nied by loud, pumped-up music with scenes of skiers carv­ing a gnarly line on a moun­tain face. Then hit­ting some urban fea­tures. Then doing some tricks. Rinse and repeat, like ten times.

In recent years, pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies have start­ed adding depth to ski films. Some ski movies now fea­ture sto­ry­lines — maybe even some nar­ra­tion. Ath­letes become char­ac­ters and the nat­ur­al scenery is no longer just a back­drop. Com­pa­nies like Sher­pas Cin­e­ma are mak­ing robust, thought-pro­vok­ing and stoke-induc­ing films that are far beyond the “ski porn” that used to get churned out sea­son after season.

The Inter­na­tion­al Frees­ki Film Fes­ti­val, abbre­vi­at­ed as the iF3, is one of the ways that the ski movie indus­try is being val­i­dat­ed and cel­e­brat­ed. With a mis­sion of search­ing for, rec­og­niz­ing and cel­e­brat­ing the best of what the frees­ki com­mu­ni­ty and spir­it has to offer, this event is all about high­light­ing the incred­i­ble results of fus­ing sport and cul­ture. Whistler recent­ly host­ed its first iF3 event, and it was out of this world. Here’s what you missed.

Into the Mind — The Encore
Sher­pas Cin­e­ma’s eager­ly antic­i­pat­ed Into the Mind had its world pre­miere in Whistler back on Sep­tem­ber 28th, but the show sold out quick­ly and many ski film fans were left in the dust. Even those who were able to snag the cov­et­ed tick­ets want­ed to see it again– the film cap­tures so much action, that it’s impos­si­ble to digest in a sin­gle view­ing. Whistler’s first iF3 kicked off with an encore screen­ing of Into the Mind, high­ly appro­pri­ate giv­en the sig­nif­i­cant Whistler Black­comb seg­ment in the film and the preva­lence of local ath­letes through­out the movie.

International Freeski Film Festival
iF3 Face­book

Pro Skiers Were EVERYWHERE
It was almost impos­si­ble NOT to bump into your favorite pro ski­er through­out the iF3 week­end. The stars of the film being screened made in-per­son cameos, offer­ing insight into the mak­ing of the film and host­ing con­tests for free swag (see below). Ath­letes hung around before and after shows, hap­py to sign posters and pose for pho­tos. They also made the most of the fes­ti­val by hit­ting up all the par­ties in town. Speak­ing of parties…

The Par­ties Were Insane!
The iF3 is equal­ly known for the phe­nom­e­nal films it screens as it is for its themed par­ties. The week­end kicked off with a Retro Par­ty. Think neon, neon and more neon. It hap­pened again the fol­low­ing night, with Sean Pet­tit and Red Bul­l’s rock star themed par­ty. In clas­sic frees­ki style, the par­ties lived up to the go big or go home mantra.

Col­by James West: The Host with the Most
Known for his big tal­ent and hilar­i­ous seg­ments, Col­by James West host­ed the film screen­ings through­out the fes­ti­val. Col­by had the crowd pumped for the films, the spon­sors, the stars and the prize give­aways. Equal­ly charis­mat­ic in per­son as he is in ski films, Col­by was the per­fect choice to host this high ener­gy festival.

Prizes for Every­one!
There were insane give­aways through­out the week­end. Pro skiers threw arm­loads of swag into the audi­ence in between ski films, and Col­by West admin­is­tered twerk­ing con­tests, award­ing win­ners with entire new snow get ups for the upcom­ing sea­son. Spon­sors like MyPack­age offered a TON of prizes for just show­ing up, and par­ties had the chance to win brand new K2 skis.

Val­hal­la — Best Sto­ry­telling and Jury’s Favorite
Awards are hand­ed out at iF3’s Mon­tre­al event in Sep­tem­ber, but the best of the best were includ­ed in Whistler’s film line up, includ­ing Sweet­grass Pro­duc­tions’ Val­hal­la. This film had nabbed the prizes for both Best Sto­ry­telling and Jury’s Favorite. Spec­ta­tors were treat­ed with the dreamy sto­ry of a ski bum’s life in a mys­ti­cal moun­tain world, known as Valhalla. 

Super­ven­tion: the Super Stand­out
The star film of the fes­ti­val came from Nor­way. Field Pro­duc­tions’ Super­ven­tion aired in the fourth and final screen­ing of the event, and was the finale we had all been wait­ing for. The scenery, sto­ry lines, ski­ing and snow­board­ing were all equal­ly spec­tac­u­lar and had the crowds hol­ler­ing through­out the show.

More Ski Movies Than You Can Imag­ine
With eight hours worth of ski films, from shorts to major pro­duc­tions, even the most enthu­si­as­tic ski film con­nois­seur would have been chal­lenged to take them all in. The event was split into four dif­fer­ent pro­duc­tions, each with a vari­ety of ski films to keep atten­dees sit­ting on the edge of their seats.

The week­end was a whirl­wind of films, fresh pow­der, pro ath­letes and par­ties. As with all good events, it went by in the blink of an eye. if3’s 2014 Whistler event is sure to be even big­ger and bet­ter. Keep your eye out for details– this fes­ti­val is not to be missed.