World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2013: An Insider’s Guide

WBCBy mid-April, most places in North Amer­i­ca have packed up their skis and boards for anoth­er year. Many peo­ple are rem­i­nisc­ing of win­ter days spent schuss­ing down the piste from the com­forts of their golf cart, anx­ious­ly await­ing next sea­son’s snow slid­ing spoils.

Not so in Whistler. In fact, mid-April is the very time of year that one should come to Whistler to expe­ri­ence one of the world’s best rockin’ ski resort par­ties. The World Ski and Snow­board Fes­ti­val is one of the biggest, most action-packed, sleep-is-for-chumps type ski/snowboard events in the world. For 10 straight days, from sun-up to sun-up, your cal­en­dar will be full of on-moun­tain com­pe­ti­tions, arts and cul­ture events, par­ties, after par­ties, and more!

Try­ing to do every­thing, while seem­ing like a good idea at the time, will leave you broke (and prob­a­bly severe­ly disabled).

Luck­i­ly I have assem­bled a “must-do” list for those unini­ti­at­ed to the mad­ness of a week­long ski, apres-ski, and apres-apres ski marathon.  You’re welcome.

Music is a big aspect of the fes­ti­val here, and this year does not dis­ap­point. In fact, it just might be one of the best line­ups ever. Be sure to catch Quest­Love (of the Roots) at the BEGINNING par­ty on April 13, as well as a few oth­er sur­pris­es. BC’s “oth­er” home­grown export, the Swollen Mem­bers, will be play­ing their usu­al set dur­ing the Big Air com­pe­ti­tion on the night of 4/20. You’ll be able to hear them but you might not be able to see them through the pur­ple haze. Keller Williams head­lines on the 14th — if you haven’t heard “The man wit a mil­lion fin­gers” play before, you’ve got­ta see what he is all about. It’s quite impressive.

But the most antic­i­pat­ed act will undoubt­ed­ly be NAS, one of the most tal­ent­ed and poet­ic hip hop artists ever. Expect to see plen­ty of white peo­ple dressed up like sub­ur­ban gangstas — here in Whistler we call them “Wangstas”. But don’t let the sag­gy pants a‑la 1994 deter you from attend­ing, as the show will like­ly be one to remem­ber for a long time. Catch him on the Skier’s Plaza main­stage on April 13.

Over the past decade the fes­ti­val has steadi­ly increased their offer­ing for artis­tic events. It’s one of the few cul­tur­al events we have in the val­ley that does­n’t revolve around the bar scene. The pop­u­lar­i­ty has risen to the point that near­ly all events sell out well before show­time, so you might have to scan Craigslist if you want to see these shows.

  • The Film­mak­er Show­down pits aspir­ing direc­tors against one anoth­er for a 3‑day non-stop bonan­za. Teams have 72 hours to make a short film. The only rule is that peo­ple have a com­mon prop that they must incor­po­rate into the pro­duc­tion. 9 final­ists are cho­sen and those films are shown to a packed-house audi­ence. It all goes down on April 16.
  • State of the Art is an ongo­ing art dis­play in the foy­er of the Whistler Con­fer­ence Cen­ter. It show­cas­es an eclec­tic mix of artists that are push­ing the bound­aries of new medi­ums such as skate­board decks, stain­less steel, and more. It’s open 12–6 every day so there is no excuse to pop by and check it out.

Oh yeah, this fes­ti­val also has some of the world’s best skiers and snow­board­ers com­pet­ing for huge cash prizes! The year­ly high­light is usu­al­ly the Big Air com­pe­ti­tion, which will be going down on 4/20 this year. Expect the ath­letes to get real­ly high (sor­ry, I had to). The Board­er­style event is unique to the WSSF where snow­board­ers race a board­er­cross track lit­tered with fea­tures to impress the fans with. They get rat­ed for both time and style, so the steezi­est, fastest board­er down the track will take the prize.

New this year is a roller der­by. Why not? Maybe if all goes well, they will change the name next year to the WSSRDF. But that’s a pret­ty big mouthful.

So those are the high­lights — for all the dirty details check out the full line­up over at  And start rest­ing up now since you’ll want to sleep as lit­tle as pos­si­ble dur­ing the fes­ti­val.  Don’t for­get your water bottle!