As if living the life of a ski bum wasn't colourful enough, now there's a musical.
The Rossland-based theatre group Iron Mountain is bringing Ski Bum: The Musical to Whistler and it will likely hit home for a good many people in the audience.
The play focuses on the trials and tribulations of Jeff Snowden, the quintessential ski bum who is past his prime and wants to win back his ex-girlfriend. In order to do that, he has to mend his ways. Song-and-dance-peppered shenanigans ensue.
"Dorky little tunes were coming to myself and the other people that co-wrote the show," says Tyler Bradley, co-writer and producer of Ski Bums, "and we started to think that, instead of making these joke songs out of it, we could hinge something of a plot to it and make a coherent show."
Anyone who has lived the so-called "dirt bag, hand-to-mouth existence" - which Bradley and all four actors are still doing, by the way - will easily relate to the subject matter but it's not just for them. Ski Bums uses a cultural anthropologist, Richard Poseur, to interpret for the more, um, refined audience members what ski bum behaviour says about the broader human experience.
"It's not full of humour that's going to be exclusively for the ski set. If you're picking up a fifth of what's in there, it's going to be an entertaining show," Bradley says.
The show is self-produced, with all four actors playing a variety of roles with minimalist set design. Bradley conjured the idea at some point between a shift at the Trail garbage dump, where he works part time, and down time on the chairlift. He co-wrote the script with Iron Mountain's Mark Pollard and a few of the songs with Nadine Tremblay.
The play has been a hit in communities throughout the Kootenays, with community reviews praising its wit and song craft. The Whistler show will be the furthest afield Iron Mountain has travelled with it and Bradley says it'll be a good opportunity to gauge how audiences receive it outside the Kootenays. From there, they'll make plans to travel to bigger cities and mountain towns across North America.
"The point is to get some industry people out, seeing as how the ski and snowboard festival is going on, and get it in front of people," he says. "Getting this in front of industry king makers and whatnot will hopefully make it easier to get 'energy drink X' and 'ski manufacturer 2' throwing some money at it."