WHAT: Telus Mobility WinterStart Festival
WHERE: Whistler Village
WHEN: Dec. 8, 9, 10
Last weekends lighting of the Christmas Tree in Whistlers Village Square was preceded by a parade of pedestrians each holding a glow stick to create an animated winter scene. Maureen Douglas, chief organizer of the two-weekend Telus Mobility WinterStart Festival, says folks will have a repeat opportunity Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. to join others who wish to light up the village.
"I dont know what it is about hanging on to glow sticks, but everybody wanted one and it gave a real sense of being together: kids and adults," Douglas said Wednesday. "So everybody will get a chance to do that again this Friday. It was a big hit. And the Whistler Singers will be carolling around the tree, which was lit last week and will stay lit until Dec. 27.
"The thing about the tree is you barely notice it, yet its obvious because its the only thing in the village that has different coloured lights," Douglas added.
The 35-foot tree is very close to the stage where most of the weekends activities will be focussed, including the awards for the various events during the Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup competition taking place Dec. 8-11 on Blackcomb Mountain.
These high-profile competitions usually have an accompanying social event to lessen the stress of world-class competition, and on Saturday evening at Merlins Bar & Grill, Extremely Canadian Freeskiing Clinics will host what is quickly becoming the most talked about industry party in the ski world.
Last years Pimp & Ho Party was voted Party of The Year by Skiing Magazine in the magazines Best of Skiing September 2000 issue. The idea is to dress as a pimp or a ho, and be as bold as possible in order to win a variety of prizes. Better yet, the crowd decides who wins. Added to the evening is the psychedelic funk of the Arthur Funkarelli band. Although the party is free, limited tickets are available and must be picked up in person at Extremely Canadians office in the Timberline Lodge in Whistler Village. Donation of a non-perishable food item is also required.
WinterStart is also a community-oriented festival that lets Whistler dignitaries recognize people in the community who have made a significant effort to make life in Whistler better.
"This was a great year because we were able to recognize young people as well," Douglas said. "The first person is Teresa Bate, a Grade 11 student at Whistler high school, for her dedication to the arts through theatre and the Whistler Community Arts Council," Douglas said. "Shes also on the student council and volunteered for childrens programs and just has a very positive attitude. The next person is Bob Calladine. Hes very involved in kids sports programs like hockey and soccer, and has been for quite some time.
"Ted Pryce-Jones was also named this year for his work with Whistler Search and Rescue," Douglas added. "Hes also involved in kids programs. But hes probably the hardest person in Whistler to get hold of because his dedication to SAR really goes way beyond the call of duty.
"Chris Winter was named as a winner of a Whistler Classic Award for his work with Zero Ceiling, which helps city youth at risk. Its been running for two or three years." Some youths and young adults from this program have gone on to become qualified snowboard instructors for Whistler-Blackcomb.
"The other thing thats going to be neat is the ice-sculpting competition Saturday," Douglas added. "There should be at least seven and maybe 10 competitors in the village all day and one of the competitors is the winner of the Ottawa Nationals. Theyll be ready by 5 p.m. to display their sculptures. And the judging takes place between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. with the peoples choice award handed out just after that."