Our Resort Manager, Ricky Cull, out in Whistler reports back about all the exciting events of the festival:
The World Ski and Snowboard Festival is the biggest gathering of arts, music, sport and culture in North America. Due to my very fortunate position of living and working in Whistler I was lucky enough to experience lots of the festival. Here is a run down of some of the events which took place in Whistler last week.
The World Ski and Snowboard Festival was kicked off by none other than Cut Chemist on the free outdoor music stage. Cut Chemist is a world class DJ that has been producing and performing for over 20 years. Cut Chemist has also been a big part of hip hop heavy weights Jurassic 5.
The gig started at 7pm with a relatively small crowd of people there to support. This soon changed as soon as the snowboarders began their assault of the Big Air jump located right next to the stage. The snowboarders were throwing down tricks that I thought were only possible in video games and Cut Chemist set the crowd alive with his mix of beat juggling and hip hop classics.
The Friday night also saw the grand opening of the State Of Art gallery in the conference centre. The State of Art is a gallery dedicated to some of Whistlers many talented artists. As described very well on the festivals web site “There are no rules and this is not a paint-inside-the-lines event. Sub-cultures and anti-movements are celebrated and portrayed in gritty and thought-provoking mediums. Invited artists come from far and wide to create a community of urban street and snow ingenuity, and push the boundaries of the State of the Art.” The night was topped off by some world class funky beats from none other than Whistler’s famous Ski Tour playing a small DJ set inside the Gallery.
An evening of snowboarding big air sponsored by Monster Energy drinks it was time for the “shred show”. Music was provided by DJ Grand Theft and the snowboarders were on top from despite the landing of the jump being very soft and not in great condition. Canadian rider Max Eberhardt, all the way from North Bay stole the show stomping a backside triple cork 1440 bagging him a nice $15000. Kyle Mack and Justin Morgan took the 2nd and 3rd spots. The night was toped of by the infamous Glitch Mob who lay down and energy filled electro beats.
After the excitement of last night’s big air there was no way I was missing the Snowboard Slope style in the Blackcomb terrain park. Kyle Mack was on top form again after last night’s second place in the Big Air he laid down a huge run to win himself a cool $15000. The park was built up for the occasion and Kong which is famous for being the biggest jump in the Park was built up to a staggering 85ft which saw athletes throwing down some huge tricks. The afternoon also saw some great artists take to the free outdoor stage down in whistler village with singer songwriter Jenny Lea taking to the stage first followed by booty shaking swing band The Sociable’s.
Monday saw the shred show present a unique event with the Monster energy Border style. I’m sure some of you will have seen the border cross and the slope style at this year’s Olympics. Well border style is a mixture of both 4 riders head down the track at the same time but have to perform a number of tricks as they are heading down. Not only do riders need to be fast they need to have some big tricks to. This was one of the best events that I saw as you could see that all the riders were having the time of their life.
The creative playing field is levelled at Whistler’s annual OLYMPUS 72hr Filmmaker Showdown. Post-production trickery, exotic locations, superstar talent and big budget advantages are made irrelevant when filmmakers are tasked to shoot, edit and produce a 3-5 minute short film within 100km radius of Whistler over the course of 72 hours. Relying purely on originality, craft, speed and endurance, the OLYMPUS 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown distils the art of film-making into its purest form – taking creative vision from concept to reality in record time in order for it to be enjoyed on the big screen by an audience of 1500+. To get a real idea of what the show is all about check out some of the previous year’s winners and top entry’s.
Intersection were the most popular show of the whole festival. Now in its fourth year, Intersection presented by Bromley Baseboardsonce again saw action sport filmmaking pushed to its limits. With only 7 days to shoot, edit and produce a 5-7 minute ski or snowboard short film, 5-7 film crews were chosen to take on this formidable challenge. The pre-requisites were each film must contain 30 seconds of park footage, 30 seconds of WB in-bound terrain, it must be shot within 100km of Whistler and 75% of all footage must be on snow. This year’s film crew the Man boys took the title with a mixture of humour and amazing film making.
I was very lucky on the Thursday evening as I won two tickets to the Olympus Pro Photography show down I did not really have any expectations for this event as it was something I had not heard of nor had I done much research on prior to the event. The event was presented by none other than extreme skier Mike Douglas. The theme of the evening was community and it really made me think about the transient lifestyle I have lived in the last 5 years and how I had been accepted in a number of different communities. As cheesy as it may sounds it really made think about all of the magical experiences I have had over the last 5 years.
Photographer Showdown is an unparalleled celebration of commitment to still images that capture both time and the human. The finalists for the show were Brent Benson, Christoph Oberschneider, Florian Breitenberger, Frode Sandbaech, and Morgan Maassen. Each contestant had to put together a 9 minuet slide show of their careers works. Every finalists slide show was a magical journey though photography mainly focusing on actions sports.
There were two awards for the evening, the people’s choice which was decided by the spectators and also the judge’s award. Frode Sandbaech tore the show apart by winning both awards in style. The evening finished with a re-run of Frode’s slide show, this was even more inspiring than the first time that I saw it.
Friday was a action pack day for music with some massive artists and parties finish get everyone warmed up for the last weekend of the festival. Fort Knox Five opened up the free music 2.30pm and drew a good crowd considering what time it was. The FORT KNOX FIVE have spent the last decade as a leading force in the international funk and breaks scene.
Next to the stage was a collective from New Zealand called Shapeshifter. Explained very well on the festivals website, Shapeshifter by name and by nature, this elemental, electronic soul outfit has morphed time and time again with seismic shifts in genre from depth-charge bass music, elastic electronic textures and barrelling break beats to bedrock of soul, jazz and rave that ground their experimentation. The crowd was full of energy with whole everyone dancing away for the entire set.
The night finished off with the festivals world famous silent disco at the GLC.
That evening was time for the skiers to put down some huge ticks in the Gibbons live big air. Music was provided by DJ Mat the Alien. The big air saw some top competition from world class skiers such as bobby bow and Nick Gopper and British skier James Woods unfortunately the woodsy did not make into the top 3 but still put down some insane tricks. The results are as : 1st Jesper Tjader | 2nd Bobby Brown | 3rd Vincent Gagnier.
After all the excitement of the big air it was time for the end party held at the conference centre. Superstar DJ and producer Rusko headlined the event with an electric set making the crowd screaming for more even if it was 4am.
Sunday was the last day of the festival and it was a late start for most people in Whistler after yesterday’s big end party. The main event for Sunday was the Original Wailers. Carrying the torch passed on by Bob Marley himself, original guitarist Al Anderson and original keyboardist and background singer Tyrone Downie have united along with a group of handpicked musicians to honour the history and integrity of Bob’s music with The Original Wailers. The Wailers really lit up the stage and the crowd was huge and the vibe of the crowd was very chilled with everyone bobbing away to some Bob Marley classics.
All in all the set up for the whole festival and the way it brings community together is really amazing Wish I had time to see all of the festival but it’s just another reason to return to this amazing place next year. For those looking to come to Whistler why not combine it with the world number one festival for sports, culture and music?