WinterStart ’98 festival update The Hongkong Bank WinterStart festival is taking shape for its run from Dec. 4 to 13. As well as five World Cup alpine and snowboarding events the mountain mardis gras has a lot going on off-piste, with parties, a parade and premiers. So get out your day planner. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin: The People’s Parade kicks-off the 10 day festival on Friday, Dec. 4 heading from the Town Plaza into the Skier’s Plaza by the village gondolas, where the official opening ceremonies will take place. The top 15 ranked downhill racers in the world will be on hand for the traditional bib draw, where they will (you guessed it) be drawing bibs for their starting numbers for the following day’s downhill race. The popular A Taste of Whistler event will be taking place alongside the bib draw. There will be samples of local cuisine while the Whistler Children’s Choir sings from the mainstage to get you in a festival festive spirit. On Saturday, Dec. 5, following the downhill race, the public unveiling of the brand spanking new Roundhouse Lodge takes place at Alpenglow ’98. The party is in support of four local charities. Tickets are $40 and are available at Whistler/Blackcomb Guest Relations. Sunday, Dec. 6 sees the first of three action film premier nights. Tommy Africa’s hosts the first night with the long awaited world premier of Greg Stump’s Fistful of Moguls, featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley and extreme hair legend Glenn Plake. The second premier takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at Merlin’s with a triple bill featuring Sick Sense, Decade and Slednecks, as well as live blasting surf tunes from the mighty Huevos Rancheros. The third and final premier night is at the conference centre and is called Epic Visions, in honour of the films No Man’s Land and Uprising. No Man’s Land is Radical Film’s celebrated foray into the female world of poetic riding and skiing. Uprising, by Teton Gravity Research, concentrates on freeriding and deep powder. Tickets for all of the premiers are $8 in advance. Backtracking here to Monday, Dec. 7, get your ya yas out to go party with the Extremely Canadian crew at the GLC which will be launching their freeskiing clinics in fine style. There will be great prizes from Rossignol and Columbia, if the legendary EC crew aren’t enough to draw you in (and they are, really they are). Skiing and riding and having a good time is what it’s all about so if you suspect your gear could do with an upgrade slide by the Super Demo Days set up at the top of Solar Coaster where you can test drive the latest skis and boards for free all through the festival. Also, throughout the celebrations a Jumbotron 20 by 27 foot screen will be in place in the Skier’s Plaza to relay live feeds of World Cup action as well as the outdoor concerts that will be taking place during the week (TBA). If you want your business to feel warm and fuzzy and part of the cool gang you can get in touch with Linda Marshall (932-4672) and purchase the Festival Decor Package. It includes a great mixture of lights, snowflakes and all you need to join in the spirit of WinterStart.