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20 years of fun and fund-raising



Costumes, vino, Club Med featured at 20 th anniversary Mouton-Cadet Spring Festival

Nuns, and human corkscrews are just some of the zany costumes expected to hit the slopes at the 20th anniversary for the Mouton-Cadet Spring Festival, April 27-28.

More than 1,000 people attended last year’s celebrations, and requests continue to flood the offices of Select Wine Merchants, which now puts on the festival.

"We get calls from people up to three months in advance, requesting tickets to the event. It’s always very popular with people from all over – Seattle, California, and the locals too," says Lara Mickel, in marketing and promotions at Select.

And Whistler locals enjoy their sports and their wine.

"Tons of it!" quips Mickel.

"Every year we run out and have to run to the local liquor store, but this year we have plenty," adds Mickel.

The festival, which initially began as a "thank you" for mountain passholders, was the brainchild of the late Crazy Canuck Dave Murray, Xavier DeEizaguire, commercial director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, and Werner Schonberger. Schonberger is now vice-president of Select Wine Merchants, which imports Mouton-Cadet.

Schonberger then rounded up restaurant teams for the race challenge. Over the years the restaurant entries grew so large that the race had to be split into Vancouver restaurants and Whistler restaurants.

Beneficiaries of the proceeds from the race entries have included the Canadian Ski Team, the Dave Murray Foundation, the James Hustvedt Fund for Disabled Skiers, the John Ryan Regeneration tour for spinal cord research, and the Whistler Health Care Centre. More than $200,000 has been raised over the 20 years of the Mouton-Cadet Spring Festival.

This year’s beneficiaries are the Dave Murray Foundation, the James Hustvedt Fund (which provides equipment for the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program), and, for the first time, the Whistler-Blackcomb Environment Fund.

The restaurant race usually includes some wild costumes. Nathalie Grether of Whistler-Blackcomb’s events department says memorable outfits include the team from Sushi Village that dressed up as California rolls and the Mutton Cadets – a group dressed as army cadets who brought fresh mutton to the Pontiac Race Centre.

Other costume highlights over the years have included bathroom stalls, nuns, 6-foot cigars, and human corkscrews.

In addition to the restaurant race on April 28, there is also the annual passholders’ race – open to everyone – on Saturday, April 27 at the Pontiac Race Centre on Whistler Mountain.

The Saturday race is followed by the apres-ski, pre-evening reception and dance party at the Chateau Whistler, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The public reception, hosted by Werner Schonberger, always draws a crowd. In addition to Mouton-Cadet red and white wines, more than 20 Whistler restaurants provide cuisine samples. There’s also live music and a raffle draw for numerous prizes, including a Club Med vacation for two to either Cancun or Cuba.

Tickets for the reception are $40, and can be purchased from the Whistler Activity Centre.

For information about the passholders ski race log on to www.whistler-blackcomb .com