Whistlerites have endured a particularly tough winter this year: unpredictable weather patterns, lower-than-usual business levels, the cancellation of some key events, and intense national media scrutiny on a variety of Whistler issues.
Spring is now here and, along with the guarantee of warm winds, and the first signs of crocuses poking their heads out of the ground, is the assurance that the annual Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival will sweep away all those winter blues.
"Its the spring tonic that is very much needed in this community come April," says Doug Perry, Managing Director of the Festival. "We invite the world to the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival, but its really a celebration of Whistler and what the community here achieves each year."
Whistlerites are invited to take a break between April 13 and 22 and be a visitor in their own town. Sit on the patios, enjoy the live music on the outdoor stage, witness some of the top skiers and riders in the world (many of them locals) achieve impossible feats, be inspired by the photography of many locals and international superstars alike, and enjoy the certainty that Whistler is, for 10 days, the epicentre of the snowsport industry.
Mark the following events on your calendar:
World Skiing Invitational Big Air: This years event will take place at the base of the gondolas on Easter Saturday (April 14) at 4 p.m. Watch local boys Toben Sutherland and Rex Thomas defend their titles against the rest of the competition. The Atomic Slopestyle event takes place on April 15th in the Terrain Park on Blackcomb.
The fourth annual Whistler Dog Fest: Only Whistler could pull off an event like this, and Whistlerites love it. Over 200 dogs and owners are expected to participate, and a major component of the day will be a WAG fund-raiser to build a new shelter for all of Whistlers stray animals.
Pro Photographer Search: Taking place at Merlins April 16th and 17th at 9 p.m., six photographers (five of them locals) will compete for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to show their work against some of the worlds best in the Pro Photographer Showdown (April 19 at the conference centre). Last years winner (and Whistler local) Kurtis Croy will sit on the judging panel. Tickets are $5 at the door with all proceeds going to local charity, Zero Ceiling.
Yahoo! Canada Live Concert Series and the Kokanee Free Ride: The Queen of Whistlers music scene, Kristen Robinson, has outdone herself this year in arranging an outstanding lineup of bands to perform on the festival mainstage and in the bars and clubs (50 concerts in all). Providing a mix of international superstars and local favourites, there really is something for everyone 3 p.m. daily at the mainstage and 10 p.m. in the bars.
Super Demo Days: Get a head start on next season by trying out some of the latest technology in skis and snowboards. Demos are available six out of the 10 Festival days, April 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22. All demos are free, plus you can pick up free subscriptions to Ski Canada magazine.
Radical Films World Premiere Search for the Holey Trail: (See article p. 47). Taking place Sunday night, April 15, this event is a definite sell out. Get tickets early for the 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. show at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Tickets are available at local bike shops.
World Snowboarding Championship: Slopestyle (April 19), Superpipe (April 21), Big Air (April 21). Whistler loves the Big Air event, and its the biggest night of the year in the village. Last year, 20,000 fans crowded into Skiers Plaza for a safe, fun evening of snowboard action, music and special effects. Mix Master Mike and special guests will play while the riders compete. It all starts at 7 p.m.
Playhouse All Night Dance Party: For the Whistler employees who work long hours for minimum wage and who live in cramped quarters with a dozen of their friends, this partys for you. Its taking place on April 20th at the Alpenrock. Tickets are available at Bestsellers.
The Brett Carlson Memorial Fundraiser: The Savage Beagle is the place to be on Tuesday, April 17th to raise money to give underprivileged and inner city kids a chance to get out and enjoy the mountains that Brett loved. Tickets, $20, are available at Sushi Village and the Savage Beagle.
Rush Hour Elevation Magazine Film Tour: (see article p. 47) A locals favourite during last years inaugural event, the Elevation Magazine Film Tour returns to the festival this year. Featuring highlights from some of the top action sport films of the year, this film is an adrenaline rush not to be missed. Two shows at Garfinkels (7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m). Tickets, $10, available at the door.
For more suggestions on how to celebrate this spring, and for a complete schedule of the music lineup check out the festival Web site at www.wssf.com