The Biggest Snow Sports Festival in the World
Posted by Rollinglobe Crew on March 28, 2012
Imagine the biggest ski and snowboarding festival – not just in the state, and not just in the country.
We’re talkin' about the biggest snow sports festival in the entire world.
And where better than North America’s largest ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb, to host this global gathering of winter wonderment?
This April 13-22, the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF) brings ten full days of music, art, and snow sports to British Columbia while the world watches on in awe.
Below is your guide to the best of what’s in store.
When you’re putting on a party for the world, you’ve got to appeal to a lot of tastes, and this lineup of free concerts – which drop daily on the main stage in Skier’s Plaza – does not disappoint.
Acts vary in genre and origin, from Australia-bred bands such as reggae- and hip hop-infused The Beautiful Girls and The Cat Empire and bluesy Ash Grunwald to the San Fran jam band Tea Leaf Green and other homegrown heroes such as the indie group The Dudes, electronica powerhouse Dragonette, and the scruffy, 70s-sounding rock stars The Sheepdogs.
Scope out the full lineup here.
After the main stage shows – which run daily from 2:30-5:30 p.m. – beats will be bumping throughout the night in Whistler Village, courtesy of Kokanee. The local brewers are sponsoring the festival’s official Après and Freeride Club Series, as well as the Kokanee Silent Disco.
What’s Silent Disco, you ask?
Only a stellar music experience in which guests grab a pair of headphones supplied at the bar and rock out to their choice of mixes from three separate D.J.'s. After all, with a crowd this varied, you’ve got to give people options.
Shredding all day and partying all night doesn’t leave much time for culture, but if you can manage to pull yourself off the mountain (or off your pillow), the festival’s art installations are sure to impress. The cultural contributions span fashion, film, and photography, all in celebration of the subculture of action sports. We’re not going to spoil all of the surprises, but we will fill you in on some of the best offerings, like Intersection, a filmmaking contest meant to capture everything Whistler Blackcomb into just five short minutes.
Contestants of Intersection have one week to write, shoot, edit and produce a short film depicting one skier and one snowboarder enmeshed in all of British Columbia’s extreme glory. The filmmakers are required to record at least 30 seconds of park footage and 30 seconds of in-bound terrain footage, and it all has to be shot within 100km of Whistler. Then, 1,800 lucky guests will be able to view the final cut on the big screen Wednesday, April 18, at the Whistler Conference Centre.
Come back the next night for arguably the world’s most prestigious action sports photography event, the OLYMPUS Pro Photographer Showdown. The organizers have invited the industry’s top photographers to submit their work and battle it out shot for shot to win a trip to the festival where their photos are then showcased to their peers, subjects, and fans. When it’s all over, more than $17,000 in cash prizes will be handed out, though among this crowd, the most valuable prize is bragging rights.
If you miss anything throughout the ten-day celebration, be sure to check out Best of the Fest. The event puts on display the festival winners, including the victors from the filmmaking and photography competitions. Best of the Fest begins at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at the Garibaldi Lift Company at the base of Whistler Mountain.
And, of course, we can’t forget the reason everyone’s here… action sports. The comps taking place here rank at the top of the list of the world’s most respected pro ski and snowboarding communities. Case in point: TTR World Snowboard Tour gives Saturday night’s Shred Show five stars.
For the last decade and a half, Saturday night at WSSF has always played host to the biggest and baddest snowboarding events, and this year will be business as usual. Saturday’s events include the Big Hip Invitational, Slopestyle and Mogul Duel competitions, PLUS the addition of a totally new Boarderstyle event that’s destined to be the ultimate competition of speed and style. Four riders race on a traditional boardercross course and are judged on both time and tricks.
The following weekend, April 19-22, hosts the Association of Freeskiing Professionals World Championship, featuring skiing greats such as Bobby Brown, Gus Kenworthy, and Torin Yater-Wallace as they tear it up for first in the disciplines of Slopestyle, Big Air, and Superpipe.
Of course, you don’t have to leave all the fun to the pros. WSSF’s Demo Park, located outside of Whistler Mountain’s Roundhouse Lodge, gives you the chance to test out the latest gear from brands such as Arbor, Burton, Forum, Salomon, and more. So now you’ve got no excuse to miss out.
Photo Credit: Mike Crane