Jonas Grenz of the Coldsmoke Awards says he is stoked to be bringing his competition to Whistler for the second year.
Now starting its 11th year, The Coldsmoke Awards began as a celebration of winter filmmakers in an Academy Awards-style ceremony that takes place in Bozeman, Mont., each January. There are now around seven categories and dozens of films judged overall.
"We've gained a lot of momentum here since our first Whistler event a year ago," Grenz says. "We had such a great time there, massive response to what we were trying to do. We immediately wanted to come back this year.
"The audiences in Whistler are so knowledgeable and they are international. They like good outdoor movies and we aim to bring that, plus good local athlete speakers."
The tour originally started as an extension of the awards when the Coldsmoke Awards team thought it would be a popular tribute to mountain culture to show nominees in other resorts as well.
"We really love creating that shared experience, getting outside and connecting with nature," says Grenz.
"All of us who are part of that culture, people here or at other resorts, have an important role to protect that. The night revolves around those shared experiences and the films speak to that."
The Coldsmoke Awards first brought films to the resort in 2013.
"The biggest change since then is probably our relationship with the community," says Grenz.
"There is more involvement this year as we know more about Whistler and Whistler knows more about us."
This has led to support from the Gibbons Group and Powder Mountain Cat Skiing, among others.
There are eight resorts taking part in the tour; Whistler is the only Canadian stop this year. Filmmakers from all over the world have entered, says Grenz, including those from China, Japan and New Zealand.
There are 31 films in the people's choice category. The people's choice award, a big part of the event, can be voted for online. Online voters are also entered for prize draws.
A local charity is also selected to benefit from the screenings; here it is the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program. Grenz says they were selected in part because they received three adaptive sports film entries this year.
Because of the sheer number on offer, six films are coming to Whistler. They are:
Icefall by Kate Spice/Mammut, the story of the best in nighttime ice climbing in Scandinavia's land of the Frost Giants; Interpretation: Will Jackways by Two Bearded Men, a film about how to live well, was shot entirely in the southern lakes region of New Zealand.
The Malibu Fable by Dendrite Studios is a little closer to home, a ski adventure film about first descents down un-skied mountains surrounding B.C.'s ocean inlets with Dave Treadway and Willie Goldman. Tiny House Series — Winter's People by Right On Brother Films, a look at small living and how that can fit into a skier's life.
And 500 Miles to Nowhere by Cloudbase Collective tells Gavin McClurg' paragliding adventure tale of four pilots who have previously set distance records and their new project to go further.
Grenz says that the competition received almost twice as many films as the previous year, around 60 overall, and whittling them down was difficult.
The films are being shown at Millennium Place Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 20. There are two screenings at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
Everyone who attends has the chance to win a Canadian Cat Skiing trip for two at Powder Mountain. Other raffle prizes include a ski and stay package, ski and sliding equipment and select garments from Coldsmoke Apparel.
Those who can't make it will be able to see all the films online for free and vote at www.coldsmokeco.com/awards/.
The winners share a purse of $10,000.
As part of the weekend, Coldsmoke Awards is also holding an official pre-party at The Longhorn Saloon on Friday, Dec. 19 at 9 p.m. The theme is "Retro Ride Attire" and tickets for Saturday's films will be given to the best dressed.
And the Coldsmoke after party, featuring Whistler duo Neverland Nights, takes place at Garfinkel's on Saturday, Dec. 20 at 9 p.m. Several filmmakers and the pros they filmed will be there. Entrance free with a ticket stub from the Coldsmoke show.