The Hongkong Bank Whistler WinterStart is promising to be Whistler’s biggest ever December celebration. In addition to five World Cup alpine and snowboarding events, the 10-day festival, December 4-13, also promises to entertain visitors and locals off the slopes with a program of free outdoor concerts, film premiers, parties, parades and children’s activities. The People’s Parade will wind its way through the village to the main festival stage for the official opening ceremonies on Dec. 4. There, the world’s top 15 downhill racers will be on hand for the bib draw to pick their start numbers for the following day’s race. A Taste of Whistler, an open-house community event, will offer free samplings of local restaurants’ culinary arts, as well as entertainment by the Whistler Children’s Choir. The first annual Alpenglow fund raiser is planned to take place at the Roundhouse Lodge on the evening of Dec. 5, after the men’s World Cup downhill. After the alpine ski racing comes to a close with the men’s World Cup super G on Dec. 6, the festival moves into a different gear with the first of six snow sport film premieres. Greg Stump’s long-awaited Fistful of Moguls opens the film festival on Dec. 6, followed on Dec. 8 by a triple bill, Slednecks, Sick Sense and Decade — all fast action, big air, deep powder power and poetry. The final film night takes place on Dec. 9 with Christian Begin’s critically acclaimed No Man’s Land, a film capturing the adventurous lives and inspiring talent of the world’s finest female skiers and riders. The show closes with big mountain freeriding in TGR’s Uprising. Wednesday, Dec. 9 is Whistler’s first ever Quarterpipe Invitational Expression Session. Thirty of the world’s top snowboarders and ‘new school’ freestyle skiers will hit a specially built quarterpipe in Blackcomb’s Nintendo Terrain Park, launching big air and "grabs" for a prize purse of $10,000. DJs spin tunes and riders launch themselves off the pipe at 60 km/h. Olympic gold medalist, Ross Rebagliati, will be back to race in the snowboard super G, Dec. 10, his first race in Canada since winning gold in Nagano last February. The super G kicks off four days of World Cup snowboarding action with a halfpipe on Dec. 11-12 and snowboard-cross on Dec. 13. Music will also be a large feature with live bands, to be announced, entertaining throughout the 10 days of festivities. A mainstage in the village will provide a forum for World Cup medal ceremonies and free outdoor concerts. A huge jumbotron television will show live feeds of all the World Cup action in the heart of Whistler Village, at the base of the two gondolas.