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Winterstart schedule compressed

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Whistler Winterstart will run for five consecutive days this year instead of being spread over two weekends as it was last year.

The change, said event organizer Maureen Douglas, reflects the resort’s decision to aggressively market to the Lower Mainland in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the U.S, and the move of the 2001 FIS Freestyle World Cup event.

"We want to give the resort one really strong weekend to kick start December," said Douglas.

"The intention is to work with membership and see what we can do with the regional marketplace for rates and the mountain is working with us to try and develop an attractive learn to ski package for that weekend too, so there are a number of promotions we are working with."

The event has traditionally been marketed regionally but Douglas said they plan to hit the market even harder this year, including Washington State, with advertising campaigns.

"We’re just going to hit it that much harder," said Douglas.

This year the event will run from Thursday, Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 10. Originally Winterstart was scheduled to take place Nov. 30-Dec. 2 and Dec. 7-9.

This year’s Winterstart will kick off with the Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup training runs and guided tours to the competition sites.

The event will provide a sneak preview of the Olympic action in February.

The opening ceremonies will start with a glowlight parade to Village Square where a festive display of sculptures will be lit up.

The parade will continue to the Whistler Conference Centre where a showcase of Whistler’s professional photographers will be on display.

Santa will arrive on Saturday and the second annual ice sculpture event will also get underway throughout the village.

On Sunday the focus is on fire not ice as the Winterstart Chili Cook-off gets under way. Local restaurants will be competing for great prizes with spicy and creative chili combinations.

After a bit of fire breathing head to Meadow Parks Sports Centre and cool off with the Ice Carnival, which showcases speed skating, Santa on Ice. and more.

Throughout the village jugglers and entertainers will show off and delight audiences and Whistler’s own choirs will serenade village wanderers.

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