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Ice, spice, snow, and Santa featured at Winterstart

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There’s no shortage of events and activities scheduled for this year’s WinterStart festival, which will run from Dec. 6 to 11.

If you’re into sports, WinterStart kicks off with Nokia FIS World Cup Snowboarding competitions, including parallel giant slalom, snowboard Cross and halfpipe events. Some of the best snowboarders in the world will take part, many of whom happen to be Canadian – a few of whom also happen to live in Whistler. Canadians are among the favourites in all of the events.

The carnival side of WinterStart starts Dec. 7 with opening ceremonies and the official launch of Whistler’s Village of Light, featuring light sculptures and displays in the village. The opening parade will travel from the Whistler Conference Centre to the Westin Resort and Spa for music with the Whistler Children’s Chorus and "Highlights — A Local Photographers Showcase," presented by Coast Mountain Photography and Tel-Av. Highlights will feature Whistler’s finest pro photographers on a large screen. Gordo and Brian will follow the slideshow with a musical performance.

On Saturday (Dec. 8), WinterStart will host its second annual Ice Sculpture Competition, featuring up to 14 different entrees who will be competing for $3,000 in prize money.

That evening, the festival will heat up with the Stella Artois Fire and Ice Party at the Westin, featuring the CanSki Fashion Show, and the music of Super Smooth and the Latin Caribbean Connection.

Guests are asked to bring non-perishable items to the opening ceremonies and Fire and Ice Party, for the Whistler Food Bank.

On Sunday, it’s the first annual Ice and Spice Chili Cookoff. Whistler’s restaurants will compete for best chili honours, and the audience will judge. Sampling tickets are available that will double as ballots.

From Saturday to Monday, you can visit Santa’s Workshop in Mountain Square, and the Winterstart Post Office. Get a picture with Father Christmas, and send a letter to the North Pole, or to friends who couldn’t make the trip to Whistler.

There will also be live street entertainment throughout the festival, including local choirs, fire jugglers, carollers, musicians and comedians.

For more information, or a detailed schedule of events, visit the WinterStart Web sit at www.winterstart.com.

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