Recap: iF3, “The Cannes of the Ski World,” kicks off from Montreal

Comments by Donny O'Neill/

iF3 kicked off last night from the Quartier Latin area of Montreal, Quebec. The night began with a free Outdoor Ski Film Presentation from The North Face. At 7 p.m., pro skiers including Sean Pettit, ABM, Will Wesson, Chris Logan, Sean Jordan, Vincent Gagnier and more, waltzed down the makeshift red carpet, posing for photos along the way.

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Sean Pettit gets funky with Reed Speedman

The films got going at 8 p.m. with the ever popular The Wallisch Project. Many ski fans have already witnessed the greatness that Mr. Wallisch and Mr. Decker have put together, and when the familiar opening grooves from Frankie Vallie flooded the crowd’s eardrums, their eyes were subsequently glued to the screen. After eight minutes of bangers, Luke Van Valin, aka “The Voice of Freeskiing,” along with partner Roxanne Bergeron introduced Real SkiFi Ep.9 from those crazy, creative boys out of Finland. The episode was an eye opener for those in the crowd that hadn’t witnessed the unique minds at work with Real SkiFi, who received a solid round of applause following the screening. Next up, “The Last Skiurai” from Line Traveling Circus, where the crew headed to the land of the rising sun for deep powder and raucous urban shots.

Will Wesson describes the atmosphere of iF3

The screenings continued with “The Burn,” one of the most popular episodes of season 6 of Salomon Freeski TV, showcasing what it’s like to ski through a forest ravaged by wildfire. An episode from this year’s Eye of the Condor rounded out the short film portion of the night, next up, the feature films.

Luke Van Valin and Roxanne Bergeron introduce the festival

Stammtisch, from Austrian film company Freeski-Crew, kicked off with a lively scene of skiers downing beers while dressed head to toe in Lederhosen. All jokes aside, the film goes on to showcase some incredible big-mountain and powder skiing, urban and terrain park prowess, more Lederhosen, as well as my personal favorite, a segment spent jibbing around an old European village high in the Alps.

The final screening of the night was from Junkies on a Budget with its film, Satori. JOB used the footage from four different film crews to put together its 2013 film, which kicked off with a trippy sequence from Roman Lachner who utilized 3-D mapping on park features to create an incredibly unique segment. Then Sean Balmer took us to the Vorarlberg region of Western Austria and PVS went heliskiing in the country of Georgia. Ending the film was Real SkiFi who, in what has become the norm, received huge applause from the crowd for its blend of creativity and technical aptitude.

At the end of the screenings, the crowd shuffled in to nearby Bar L’Abreuvoir, where the after party surged late into the night. The action continues today at 5:00 p.m. EST with screenings from Vital Films, Skilluminati, Level 1 Productions, Field Productions and more. Stay tuned for updated coverage from iF3 Montreal.

Related: Here’s why you need to go to iF3 Montreal in September