Flashback to the First FRESHtival

The Hoser Issue of SBC Skier back in 2004 was iconic mostly for its jaw-dropping cover shot of Eric Hjorleifson upside down high above the Sundance Range in Banff, but that issue also dedicated one page to the first ski movie festival ever in Calgary (or anywhere?). The picture shows a young Rory Bushfield airing to a rail on the SAIT hillside with an inlaid shot of Tanner Hall spinning for the Cowtown crowd. Here’s the full flashback:

Rail Rodeo

“The Calgary Freshtival brings in a stampede of ski talent to the city.”

Surveying the venue for the Oakley 1242 Urban Jib event, it was clear that the scope of Calgary, Alberta’s first annual Freshtival was much larger than anyone expected. Instead of the car trunk’s worth of snow leading to a flatbar most had anticipated, there were literally tons of snow from who knows where leading into a small rail park. Equally surprising were the hundreds of fans drawn during the summery afternoon of October 17.

Following the cancellation of Molson’s summer SnowJam tour, Steve Saranchuk, owner of local ski shop Fresh Skis, convinced companies to participate, send their pros, and pay for an autumn rail contest. The result was the Freshtival, a three-day melange of ski-movie premieres, rail jams and tent village. After a night of ski movies, the crowd was ready for live skiing, and it seemed like there were as many top pros in attendance as there were sticker-hungry kids. 

In a tight contest, Iannick B. won the overall title, while Tanner Hall earned a fancy Oakley watch for top trick—a 630 to the triple kink. Hall gave the watch to his favourite skier of the day, local super-grommet Mike Henetiuk. As much as the rail jam was a coming of age for Fresh’s new and young team (Jon McMurray, Rory Bushfield, Eric Hjorleifson, Justin Francis, and Henetiuk all killed it), the three-day event was a coming-out party for the Calgary ski scene; the city has never seen such a collection of ski talent in one place.

The draw of the Freshtival was obvious. Rails were jibbed, companies showed product, autographs were signed, gazillions of prizes given away, beers sank, and everyone went home stoked on Cowtown—the kind of success that screams “SEQUEL!”

-Kevin Hjertaas, 2004

Did you know that Freshtival is the longest running ski movie festival anywhere? You can check out the recaps from other years on Newschoolers.com 


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