Springtime in Whistler is one of my favourite times of year. It is a great transitional period as skiing begins to wind down, the bike trails are steadily becoming clear of snow with many of the lower XC trails ready to go. The Whistler Mountain Bike Park is gearing up to open on May 17. And it won’t be long before we get out there and start camping and hiking, snow melt dependent.
Whistler mountain closed on April 21 and with that closure saw the end of the World Ski & Snowboard festival (WSSF). This festival brings a terrific vibe to Whistler with an influx of athletes, music and cultural type events. The sporting component of the festival brings in the world’s top freestyle skiers and snowboarders and has them competing in slopestyle and big air style events. The music includes a host of acts, canadian and foreign, performing on an outdoor stage at the base of the mountains. The cultural side showcases some incredible artists and producers in competitions like a “72 hour filmmaker showdown” and a “pro photographer” showdown.
As the week is the last busy push before our slow season begins I worked the majority of the festival. I did, however, manage to head up and check out the Skier’s slope style. It was fantastic. The athletes really stepped it up this year and seeing the top pro’s like Tom Wallisch, James Woods, Gus Kenworthy & ‘Aussie’ Russ Henshaw, just to name a few, was a cool experience as these guys are household names in the skiing world. It wasn’t only the guys throwing down their tricks though. I managed to snap a couple of shots, although the sun was intermittent making it tricky at times.
The music is always a great vibe with some great acts. In years past I have seen Metric, Cat Empire, John Butler Trio & Michael Franti & Spearhead. This year, at the outdoor stage, I only managed to see canadian act K-os, who put on a fantastic show. I did, however, see Beats Antique (who performed on the outdoor stage) at the GLC. These guys were awesome, playing a fun, funky and energetic gig. An act that had a lot of people around town buzzing with excitement was old shcool rapper NAS. The village was packed for this gig and everyone I spoke to said he can still put on a great show.
Unfortunately I missed all the cultural events, but I heard that all were a great success, in particular the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown and Intersection, which is a 7 day filming and production competition. The winning edit from Intersection can be seen here, Restless.
It is always sad to see the end of another winter season, and although there is still some skiing to be done, I am looking forward to the upcoming months of hiking, biking, camping, canoeing and whatever else this summer may throw my way.