The 2017 World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF) opens in Whistler on Friday, April 7, and it has already broken records.
"We trucked out over 100 loads of snow from Skier's Plaza in order to set up the music stage, the largest amount we've ever had to remove," says WSSF organizer Sue Eckersley.
She laughs and adds: "We may be slightly over budget on snow removal!"
"The final setup is going awesome," Eckersley says.
"We're at the build stage with the operations manager and crew going up the Fido Tower in the village. The art walls for State of the Art are going up, and the last licks of paint are being applied. The Stage is up tonight."
Eckersley expects it to be a busy year, with hotel occupancy running at 70 per cent for every day of the festival. She partly attributes this to Easter falling on the final weekend of WSSF, as well as the Whistler Cup.
"I'm thinking the many times people will book the week in Whistler that follows Easter, but thanks to the festival they seem to be coming the week before," she says.
She says ticketed events sell out each year and this festival is not expected to be any different.
WSSF is a 10-day extravaganza of mountain culture, with music, sports competitions, photography and film showdowns, art shows, comedy and parties and nightlife ramped up around the resort. (For sports coverage, turn to pages 50 and 52.)
Sadly, this is Eckersley's last year organizing WSSF, now in its 22nd year.
State of the Art
The mountain world as inspiration is celebrated at WSSF's annual visual arts show in the Grand Foyer of the Whistler Conference Centre. There are no rules and everything from traditional landscapes to gritty street art is on show, with the chance for fans to buy a piece of art for themselves. The show is free and is on throughout the festival.
Nine passionate storytellers give the audience at the Whistler Conference Centre a visual feast of what about mountain and adventure culture means the most to them. They are athletes, explorers and outdoors personalities with big tales to tell. Sunday, April 9, 7 p.m.
Olympus 72hr Filmmaker Showdown
Dozens of filmmakers, one weekend, and one assignment: to create a wonderful short film to be screened at the Whistler Conference Centre on Wednesday, April 12. The teams will have gone without sleep to tell their stories and six finalists will vie for cash and prizes. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown
Five of the best action sports photographers — Jake Darwen, Bruno Long, Andrew Miller, Ben Thouard and Daniel Rönnbäck — show their best career shots taken around the world for prizes and glory. It takes place at the Whistler Conference Centre on Thursday, April 13, doors open at 8 p.m.
Intersection presented by Bromley Sports
Chosen pro crews put together a five-to-seven-minute ski/snowboard film that incorporates artistic vision and a lot of shredding. Bluebirds are optional. The teams battle for a grand prize of $10,000. It takes place at the Whistler Conference Centre on Friday, April 14, doors open at 8 p.m.
A showcase for artistic talents in all mediums in Whistler and the Sea to Sky Corridor, the event has visual arts, and live performance with music, dance and theatre. It takes place that the Rainbow Theatre on Saturday, April 15. Doors open at 7 p.m.
FIDO Free Outdoor Concert Series
Pique has for weeks been writing about the amazing performers coming to town.
They include Walk Off the Earth (Saturday, April 8), Swollen Members (Thursday, April 13), Keys N Krates (Friday, April 14), Busta Rhymes (Saturday, April 15), Ozomatli (Sunday, April 16).
Other music events include the Kokanee Freeride Club Series at venues around the resort throughout the festival, check Pique listings for details, and The END (On Saturday, April 15. See interview with DJ Grammatik in the next issue of Pique).
Enjoy the festival! For more information and for tickets to all WSSF events, visit www.wssf.com.