Last weekend Quebec paid tribute to one of its own.
All photos courtesy of iF3
On Saturday, September 26 in Montreal, Canada, the International Freeskiing Film Festival celebrated the life of JP Auclair, one of the most influential individuals ever to step onto a pair of skis, with a somber but inspiring tribute event and fundraiser for the non-profit organization that Auclair founded, Alpine Initiatives.
Throughout a two-hour ceremony, a multitude of Auclairs’s closest friends and family took to the hushed stage at the Cinema Imperial to recall fond memories of the pioneering Quebec freeskier and introduce selections of his finest ski segments, as well as other videos created by Auclair that highlighted his seemingly inexhaustible creativity, work ethic and compassion.
From his first ski segment with Poor Boyz Productions in 1998’s Degenerates to his celebrated street-skiing segment in Sherpas Cinema’s 2013 release Into The Mind, the selection of clips showed the depth and longevity of Auclair’s influence in skiing. Interspersed between the ski clips, other videos showed Auclair’s wide range of passions and interests, like his trip to build an orphanage in Meru, Kenya with Alpine Initiatives, and his obsession with and mastery of the Japanese game of kendama.
“JP has been at iF3 since the beginning,” said festival founder Felix Rioux, who said the tribute was a personal project for him. “He was always willing to come and help and represent skiing.”
“For me, JP is the essence of freeskiing,” added Rioux, who still spoke of Auclair in the present tense. “He’s a professional athlete, but he’s also a professional. He gets involved in all aspect of skiing, whether it’s designing skis, editing segments or coaching kids. JP has always been full-on 100% into what he was doing. He’s just overall a great human being, and everyone who knows him says the same thing.”
I never met JP, but his life influenced mine from the first time I watched him ski in Degenerates way back in 1998. Over the years since then his influence has only grown, for me and for everyone else who knew him or knew of him. May his memory inspire us all to work hard for what’s good, and not forget to have fun along the way.
Here’s a recap of the iF3 tribute. Since many of the videos shown are available online, we’ve collected them here for everyone to enjoy. The author apologizes for not knowing enough French to understand many of the speeches.
JP’s father, Jean Auclair, made an opening speech.
MC Phil Poirer introduced JP’s first segment with Poor Boyz Productions in the revolutionary 1998 freeski movie Degenerates.
Mike Douglas sent a pre-recorded introduction to JP’s segment in Poor Boyz The Game. Douglas said that it was this segment that showed him the depth of JP’s talent and vision.
JP’s fiancée Ingrid Sirois introduced JP’s documentary about his first Alpine Initiatives trip to Meru, Kenya to build an orphanage.
Felix Rioux introduced a slideshow of JP’s previous appearances at the festival.
Kim Lamarre introduced one of JP’s many hilarious edits from the “UP” (Unknown Project) series, produced with spare footage from JP’s travels at a time before Internet edits were a thing. Lamarre said that JP taught her the importance of working hard, but still remembering to have fun.
Julien Regnier introduced JP’s segment in PBP’s 2009 film Revolver, in which JP showcased his new big-mountain mettle, and stomped a double backflip mute grab to boot.
Tyler Hamlet introduced an incredible timelapse reel that JP filmed over four years of down days in Haines, Alaska. This rare footage shows a glimpse into JP’s incredible focus and attention to detail.
Neil Sotirakopolous recalled long hours of playing kendama with JP, and introduced a mindblowing POV kendama edit that was found on one of JP’s hard drives.
Frank and Maude Raymond introduced JP’s Into The Mind street segment with Tom Wallisch, the follow-up to his segment in All.I.Can that became one of the most successful and celebrated ski segments ever.
Tyler Hamlet introduced another UP1.2 segment from Haines.
Marc-Andre Belliveau and Genevieve Charbonneau performed the song the Marc-Andre wrote for JP: “Out There.”