A Guide to the WSSF for First Timers
Tue. Mar 8, 2016
Blog: She's Got Game
Written by: Mia Gordon
Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to whistler for the first time. Not only did I get to cross skiing the amazing West Coast Mountains off of my bucket list, but I also was able to be a part of the 2015 World Ski and Snowboard Festival. WSSF is a 10-day celebration of snow sports, music, arts, and the mountain life. The festival is actually the largest free outdoor music festival in all of North America, and might I add one of the best.
The reason this festival rivals festivals around the world is there is something for everyone. Whether you love outdoors and skiing, arts, comedy, or live music, there is something for you to do, see, take in, and be a part of at WSSF. And since there are such a wide variety of events, activities, and competitions, it can seem overwhelming. Just taking a look at the schedule for this year, there are bands like A Tribe Called Red and Monster Truck, there are showdowns that showcase the best photographers and filmmakers in the region, there are some of the best Après Ski parties, and of course some of the best spring skiing in the world. The Whistler Mountains offer spectacular views, trails, and slopes for the beginners to the advanced skiers.
So the reason I decided to put this blog together is to help you survive the WSSF, or should I say make the most of it. As the WSSF Communication Manager Chelsea Moen says, “The festival is a marathon not a sprint.” True if you get to take in all ten days, but what if you are only there for one or two like I was last year. What if you are not sure what to experience on what given day.
I decided to share some of my favourite moments, activities, events, and places to visit in hopes of helping anyone who may be checking out the festival this year and may all that it has to offer overwhelm a tad.
Firstly if you enjoy skiing, your number one absolute top priority should be getting out on the slopes. Having grown up in Ontario, this marked my first time checking out what the west coast has to offer, and it was incredible. With the slopes over looking the water, it is absolutely breathtaking. Now having grown up in Ontario, I must say some of the mountains scared me just a tad, but luckily there were always options for those of us that aren’t Olympic level just yet.
If you aren’t into skiing, then there is plenty going on around the village during the festival, like the Roller Derby, The Whistler Dog Fest, and Mascot Mayhem. All really fun events. There is also great shopping, food, and of course spas if that is up your ally.
For skiers and none skiers alike, one must check out is the insane competitions. Besides skiing last year, my favourite part of the festival was the Big Air competition, and while this year the Big Air has been replaced with The IFSA North American Freeride Championship as well as the Monster Boardstyle it is sure to be exciting. Watch some of the top athletes in the world compete doing insane tricks, flips, spins, and jumps that are sure to leave you wanting more.
Then might I suggest heading down to the Longhorn and grabbing a seat on their beautiful patio, it is spring remember. This marks the perfect spot for an after ski bite and drink, and also a perfect spot to watch the Fido Outdoor Concert Series which is a free event featuring some incredible artists that starts at 2:30 daily. Might I also add, Longhorn is notoriously known for their Après Ski parties, and trust me they did not disappoint.
If you are into arts, whether it be stills or films, you must check out the Olympus showdowns for the best short film and photography showcasing some amazing local talent. Check this out for the filmmakers; they have 72 hours to put together a 3-5 minute movie within a 100 KM radius of Whistler. You really get to experience the local perspective through a variety of different eyes and creative expression. It really takes you outside of the Whistler you see, and gives you a totally different and unique perspective. And you know the effort and time that went into these videos, because there is an amazing grand prize for the winners.
And then of course to cap off the evening there are the amazing parties. Every bar in Whistler offers its own unique vibe and atmosphere during the festival, and I really don’t think you can go wrong. But I would highly recommend circling the Kokanee Silent Disco on your to do list. This party is like none I have ever seen before. You grab a pair of headphones, chose from three DJs playing on different channels, and then you dance the night away, how cool is that! Also for afterhour’s fun check out the Kokanee Freeride Club series, with different bands playing free live shows at different bars around town. I cannot wait to check out A Tribe Called Red at Garfinklels!
So yes, with so much to see and do, the festival can seem a little overwhelming. I would suggest making a list or calendar of the events you really want to check out, their times and locations to make sure you don’t miss out! But just go and have fun, and hey if you don’t get to check something out this year, just gives you and excuse to come back next time!
I know I can’t wait for the amazing spring skiing, awesome live music, and of course those Après ski parties. Hope to see you on the slopes!