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Festival season is about to kick off in Whistler in a big way. Returning for its 24th year, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) launches April 10-14. The festival will showcase all the elements that make Whistler unique, taking it to the next level with free concerts, ski and snowboard competitions featuring Olympians and X Games champions, plus art, photo, film and speaker events that’ll tell the story of life in the mountains, and the people who make their home amidst them.
With 20+ events on the five day festival schedule, we’ve rounded up some not-to-be-missed highlights.
Here are our top six ways to soak in the best of fest’s sport, music and arts events, go all out from dawn to dusk (and beyond) and make every last second of spring in North America’s largest ski resort count.
Soak in Global Inspiration
An intimate evening of inspiration, conversation and music with Michael Franti
In what promises to be an inspiring, interactive and intimate evening, singer-songwriter Michael Franti kicks off the WSSF festivities with a screening of his latest film followed by a Q&A and a live acoustic set. In Stay Human, Franti reflects on his personal journey facing adversity as a child, and how he came to find inspiration through six stories of extraordinary changemakers from around the world. With tickets priced at just $30, it’s sure to be a packed house, attracting fans from the Sea to Sky through the Lower Mainland, and beyond. The next day, Franti & Spearhead take to the stage for a FREE concert at 4 p.m. in Whistler Village.
Take Après to the Next Level
FREE outdoor concerts daily in Whistler Village
What: WSSF Outdoor Concert Series
When: Wednesday, April 10 through Sunday, April 14 @ 3 p.m.
Where: Skiers Plaza in Whistler Village
Tickets: FREE – no ticket required
Kicking off festival season with five days of FREE concerts featuring an array of international and local talent, there’s something for everyone at the WSSF Outdoor Concert Series. Taking place slopeside at 3 p.m. daily, shows will make for the ultimate bumping après ski activity. Double-headers Wednesday and Thursday will see Juno-nominated Snotty Nose Rez Kids take the stage followed by Michael Franti & Spearhead one day, then Old Soul Rebel and Little Destroyer the next. Friday and Saturday an elevated entertainment experience awaits, with Skratch Bastid and Mat the Alien getting the party started before the Big Air events take flight. Sunday, the 20+ musician/performer troupe of MarchFourth will bring their powerhouse sound to the stage to send the festival off with a resounding bang.
Watch the Best in the World Throw Down
Olympians and X Games champs descend on Whistler for Big Air competitions
What: Halaw Snowboard Invitational and Sp’akwus Ski Invitational
When: Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 @ 4 p.m.
Where: Skiers Plaza, Base of Whistler Mountain
Tickets: FREE – no ticket required
The best in the world are coming in hot and ready to take WSSF by storm. If you want to witness the magic as Olympians and X Games all-stars perform tricks off the massive 60 foot jump set above Skiers Plaza, Whistler Village is the place to be. With $150K in prize money on the line, the stakes are as high as the jump in these Big Air contests, taking place Friday and Saturday. Locked in and ready to send it are a stacked roster including Mark McMorris, one of the most decorated athletes in competitive snowboarding history, and Jamie Anderson, the “Queen of Big Air” and the only woman ever to win two Olympic gold medals in snowboarding.
The WSSF’s Big Air competitions are proudly supported by the Resort Municipality of Whistler, in partnership with funding from the Province of British Columbia.
Feed your Soul at Art and Multimedia Events
Mountain-minded creatives and adventurers come together at Whistler Conference Centre
What: Swatch ART+Soul, Multiplicity presented by Mountain Life Media, Pro Photographer Showdown, Swatch 72hr Filmmaker Showdown, CLIF Intersection in association with Protect our Winters Canada
When: Wednesday, April 10 through Sunday, April 14
Where: Whistler Conference Centre
Tickets: $30, or save $15 and grab the three-pack WSSF Multimedia Pass: wssf.com/tickets
The artistic spirit of the mountains will be shining bright all week at the Whistler Conference Centre, home to all arts and multimedia events at WSSF. Open daily from 12-6, Wednesday through Sunday, come check out the 40+ artists that’ll be sharing their passions and talents at the free Swatch ART+Soul exhibit. Tuesday through Saturday evenings, the conference centre will be the place to be as the community comes together to celebrate mountain culture through adventure talks, action-photography showcases, a filmmaker challenge, and a ski/snowboard film showdown.
Make a Splash (and keep it weird)
Take in the fearlessness, flamboyance and FUN of the annual Twisted Tea Slush Cup
What: Twisted Tea Slush Cup
When: Sunday, April 14 @ 12 p.m.
Where: Whistler Mountain, above the Roundhouse Lodge
Tickets: FREE with lift pass
Pull your favourite animal suit/vintage onesie/superhero outfit/budgie smuggler out of the closet, and get ready to send it. Or, if skiing/riding across a slushy ice pond isn’t your jam, come on out and watch the madness go down from the sidelines. With prizes for Best Costume, Best Trick and Best Wipe-Out up for grabs, the annual Twisted Tea Slush Cup will undoubtedly be a sight to behold.
Hit the Slopes
Spring turns are where it’s at for soaking up the springtime vibes
What: Spring skiing and riding
Where: Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains
The flowers may be blooming in the city, and the snow melting in the village, but a short gondola ride away winter is still going strong with plenty of soft, sunny turns to be had. While Whistler Mountain is open through May 27, Blackcomb’s only got a couple weeks left – so get up there while the going’s good for the full WSSF experience: ski/ride straight into the village, check out the free concerts in Skiers Plaza, roll onto après in Whistler’s bars and restaurants, check out the evening cultural offerings at the Whistler Conference Centre, and follow the night wherever it takes you. Then wake up and do it all again the next day.
The time is now: Soak it in. Go all out. Make it count.
For more information on the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, visit wssf.com.