By 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 wssf.com. And start resting up now since you’ll want to sleep as little as possible during the festival. Don’t forget your water bottle!