North America's largest LGBTQ ski festival returns to Whistler this weekend with plenty of ways to show your pride.
The 26th annual Whistler Pride and Ski Festival kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 21 with a welcome reception at the Aava Hotel from 4 to 8 p.m. The festivities ramp up the following day with a guided ski outing from the top of Whistler Mountain. Participating skiers and riders should meet at the Roundhouse light board at 9:45 a.m. Later that night, festivalgoers will head back to the Aava for a rousing round of everyone's favourite "party game for horrible people," Cards Against Humanity, led by actor and comedian Ryan Steele.
On Tuesday, Jan. 23, Buffalo Bills hosts a good ole' fashioned hoedown at 8 p.m. for Wild West, an inclusive night of "country dance music."
Legendary stand-up Margaret Cho headlines the festival on Wednesday, Jan. 24, with her signature combination of raunch comedy and savvy political insight. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Whistler Conference Centre.
Attendees will let their rainbow flag fly alongside the community on Friday, Jan. 26 for the eighth annual Pride Parade. Setting off from Whistler Mountain, the march will make its way to Skier's Plaza and into the village before culminating at Olympic Plaza with the Après T-Dance. This free event is open to the public.
Friday caps off with one of the festival's hottest tickets, Furrocious, set for the conference centre from 10 p.m. until late. This year's theme is "Military Ball," giving attendees a chance to dress up in their favourite uniform, be it "army, police, leather, or sports kit." Superstar international DJ and producer GSP will provide the soundtrack.
Then, on Saturday, Jan. 27, Whistler Pride closes at the conference centre with its signature event, Snowball26, which brings back Italian producers and DJs The Cube Guys for an encore performance after they headlined the festival last year.
For a full schedule of events, and to purchase tickets, visit gaywhistler.com.
Local choirs accepting new members for their spring seasons
If your New Year's resolution is to take your singing from the shower to the stage, then Whistler's local choirs might have just the opportunity for you.
Both the Whistler Children's Chorus and the Whistler Singers are now accepting new members for their respective spring seasons — one of only two times a year the groups take on new singers.
The Whistler Children's Chorus, which includes a junior choir for grades 1 to 4, and an intermediate choir for grades 5 to 7, meets every Tuesday in the basement of the Maury Young Arts Centre. (The junior choir sings from 4 to 5 p.m., while the intermediate choir meets from 5 to 6 p.m.) Chorus co-director Jeanette Bruce says the choir welcomes young singers of all experience and ability levels.
"We're a non-audition choir, so we're not going to turn anybody way," she says. "Really, at such a young age, I believe pretty passionately that everyone can learn to sing, and especially kids."
The same goes for the Whistler Singers, which welcomes members from "age 13 to 113" to sing at the Myrtle Philip Community School every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m.
Director Alison Hunter says the choir offers "a sense of community" to its members, a diverse group that ranges in age and residence.
"They're looking to sing together and have fun," she says.
Both choirs are working towards their spring concerts. The children's chorus show is set for April 29, while the Whistler Singers will perform on May 4.
For those interested in joining either choir, you are free to show up and give the group a try at their regular weekly sessions. The children's chorus is accepting new members until the end of January, while the adult choir's cutoff date is Feb. 10. Visit whistlerchorus.org for more information.