A discussion on the future direction of skiing and snowboarding in North America, analysis of Alberto Tomba’s technique and examples of the 1997 ski and snowboard equipment are some of the off-hill activities planned for next month’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival. While the festival, which runs from April 5 to 14, includes major ski and snowboard competitions, such as the World Technical Skiing Championships, the Air Canada Whistler Cup and the Kokanee Kross North American BoarderCross Championships, it reaches the whole ski and snowboard industry. One of the highlights during Industry Week will be SKI Magazine Editor in Chief Ed Pitoniak’s keynote address at the Garibaldi Lift Company, April 10. Pitoniak, who was guest speaker at the Whistler Chamber of Commerce Spirit Luncheon last November, will discuss the future direction of skiing and snowboarding in North America. Representatives of the top 60 ski schools in Canada and the United States will also be in Whistler to take part in the North American Ski School Directors Conference during the festival. Norm Crerar of Vernon, the first non-European to be appointed president of Interski — the world congress of ski instructors from 35 countries which meets every four years — will address the conference. More than 400 Professional Ski Instructors of America will take part in a three-day symposium on ski instruction techniques, April 12-14. During the same period, the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance will host the World Ski Instructors Festival, which will include a lecture on World Cup star Alberto Tomba by Olle Larsson. Author of World Cup Ski Technique and a judge for the World Technical Skiing Championships, Larsson is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on ski technique. Industry Week also includes displays of next year’s equipment by manufacturers such as Kästle/Nordica, Salomon, Rossignol, Burton, Air Walk and Killer Loop. Many manufacturers will have on-hill demos during the festival. Ski Canada Magazine will also be conducting its annual On-Slope Ski Test during the festival, under the direction of technical editor and Whistler resident Ernie Tysowski. The World Ski and Snowboard Festival will include 22 events and competitions involving 1,500 athletes from 17 countries. Live music and the FamilyFest will also be part of the festival. Tickets for the Industry Dinner at the Garibaldi Lift Co. are $40 and available after April 5 from the festival office in the conference centre. For more information on the World Ski and Snowboard Festival call Whistler Mountain Guest Relations at 932-3434, Blackcomb Guest Relations at 932-3141 or access the festival’s Internet Web site at http://www.whistler.net/worldfest.