The Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival has seen a lot of the world's top skiers and snowboarders pass through over the years, launching some careers while capping others. And while sponsors and formats have changed time and time again, the atmosphere is always the same as athletes converge on Whistler to celebrate the end of the season by going skiing or riding with their friends - awesome.
The prize money this year is huge, even by past standards. There is $50,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs in the World Skiing Invitational, which will be handed out in big cheque form following the Superpipe and Superhit competitions. There is also a one in four chance that the top male and female skier on the Olympic-sized halfpipe could drive away from the festival in a brand new Camaro. If you catch one live sporting event this year (Olympics not included) it should be this one.
Orage Masters - Saturday, April 17
This is the third year that Whistler has played host to the Orage Masters, a ski industry showdown between factory teams where costumes matter as much as the skiing - and the skiing is beyond phenomenal.
While the event has typically occurred up the mountain, out of sight of the general public, the organizers have brought it down to the valley this year to a custom-built course at the base of Whistler Mountain - a course that will be shared with the Grenade Games the following week. Finally the athletes will be able to show the world what they're doing these days.
The event is judged by the athletes themselves as well as a panel from Orage. It takes the form of a head-to-head showdown between eight teams in an elimination format until just two teams remain. Teams represented include Amplid, Armada, K2, Line, Salomon, Surface, Volkl and 4Front. Volki is the defending champion.
Local skier Sean Pettit is in the field again this year competing for the K2 team.
The competition gets underway with the first heats at 1:15 p.m. and runs through the afternoon until the finals take place around 4:40 p.m. and the final vote is tallied. The awards follow at 5:30 p.m. on the main stage.
World Skiing Invitational - April 18 to 20
The Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival practically invented the freeskiing revolution, hosting some of the earliest slopestyles, quarterpipes and halfpipe competitions in the world. Anyone who is big in the industry, from Tanner Hall to Mike Douglas, has competed at the festival, even before they had their own World Skiing Invitational banner to rally under.