Over the last seven years, the Cypress Point Winter Carnival has seen every type of winter weather.
"We've had everything from totally open water [on Alta Lake] with a polar bear swim to three feet of ice," says Stephen Vogler, artistic director at The Point Artist-Run Centre, which organizes the festival. "One time the lake was really beautifully frozen, but there was grass around the lodge; there was no snow."
To that end, when Vogler runs down the list of events meant to take place on Alta Lake on Sunday, Feb. 16, it's with the caveat that Mother Nature makes the final call.
"There's still great outdoor space to be on—the indoor space too," he adds.
Those on-ice events include ice (or snow) dancing, curling, and shinny—though alternatives are in place depending on the temperatures and ice thickness.
"I don't know what snow dancing looks like, but I'm sure it'll look awesome with some good tunes going," Vogler says with a laugh.
The one-day event will kick off at noon with snow sculpting, snow angels, flag painting and sketching/painting.
This year, because the festival falls in the middle of Whistler's celebrations for the 10-year anniversary of hosting the Winter Olympics, there will be an "Art-lympic" spin on activities. After a campfire sing-along and a visit from Frosty the Snowman, at 1 p.m. there will be an opening ceremony and torch lighting ahead of the ice sports and the brand new "Donut Olympic Ring eating event."
For that last event the donuts are "on a string and you position yourself underneath and you have to try to eat the donut—which, in this case, is an Olympic Ring—and beat everyone else," Vogler says. "We will have many prizes, and medals too."
Finally, wrapping up the afternoon festivities before the awards ceremony and final campfire sing-along—led by local musician Susan Holden—there will be a "drop-the-gloves" event. Participants take part in the "great Canadian tradition" of hockey fights—only, minus the violence. Instead, they have to drop their gloves in the lead up to the fight in the most stylish and unique way possible.
"We encourage people to come in some kind of costume or national team [clothing]—and we'll have our big tickle trunk of stuff and costumes on site—that you can dress up in and paint a flag that represents your team," Vogler says.
The fun continues into the night with dinner starting at 6 p.m. followed by Olympic Improv, a live winter Art Auction—with paintings created during the day—and a performance by Vancouver band Small Town Artillery.
"Angie Nolan is cooking up [Olympic Improv] with a team of local improvisers," Vogler says. "It's going to incorporate a lot of Olympic and sports themes into improv."
The idea for this year's Olympic theme came from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, he adds. "They noticed our winter carnival is during the 10-year anniversary period ... [and they] asked if we wanted to do something. We said, 'Sure that's a great idea,'" he says. "Then they leant financial support to us bringing that aspect into it, which was really nice. It's fun to incorporate something unique into this year's winter carnival."
The afternoon events are free, but tickets to the dinner and evening shows are $35 for adult and $25 for kids 12 and under or $20 for the show only, or $15 for kids.
Get them at thepointartists.com/ or at Armchair Books.