World Ski & Snowboard Festival 2018 - Whistler BC
Photos by Ryan Hollywood
April 23, 2018
It was a whirlwind extended weekend but dag-namit we survived. Be it cruising up in a rainstorm the first night to catch creativity in its finest moments at the Olympus 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown. Attempting to not let the illuminated “BAR” wall projection get the better of us during the late night start of Intersection. Or, melting away in the unrelenting sun and seemingly unheard of late season shelf powder while taking in the beyond epic Sudan Coulier Extreme Ski Race and Monster Energy’s Boarderstyle (now available in a series size). We took full advantage of the twin peaks, and their surrounding settlement like Columbus did when discovering the new world... Well not quite to that extent but you get the jist of it.
It all seemed to make the most sense on paper first. We’ll meet up, rock paper scissors to see who drives up from the city, stop for gas and snacks and make it with enough time to hit up Tapley’s across from the Whistler Conference Centre for a drink and some food and then into the Olympus 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown. The problem was we planned this when it was a nice day and set the times accordingly. Instead we met up late, then both drove in the same car given the weather and bombed up missing both gas and snacks on the way. Luckily enough we got there with just enough time to power eat and power drink before having to go in.
Once inside the WCC we were met with some unreal artwork presented by Swatch and by some unbelievably nice artists at the Swatch ART+Soul. Like Greg Rae for example. A soft spoken flannel wearing regular guy who was more then happy to speak about his amazing wood art while still being a bit concerned about possibly helicoptering over onlookers. But given that his installation seemed to be the busiest night after night. We think he was right to hover around.
After taking in the rest of what ART+Soul had to offer in all its glory, we set off to find seats. Surprisingly harder then thought but hey, with 1400 people and 7 kids in attendance what do you expect? A bunch of free seats together. Not likely. Thankfully they have done this before and know better then to have one screen. They had 6. Count ‘em. So after a couple laps the solution was obvious. Sit anywhere since every seat in the house was a good one.
For the Olympus 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown there were 10 films shown from the 30+ that entered. The rules were simple. You got from the Friday before to the Sunday 72 hours later to write, produce, direct, edit and submit your 3-5 minute long video featuring the extensive use of the necessary prop. A pair of swim goggles. Given the restrictions on time you might think this would be a hard feat to accomplish. Then again you might have never seen the likes of Whistler locals when they set their mind to something. As you could probably guess the vast majority was comedy, after all who cares about drama anyway. This crowd wasn’t here throwing cash at drinks in between every film to see some dramas. Maybe a mockumentary like “The System”… But that is about as close as it comes. The ideas varied from “how to”, to “how not to”, to just plain “we have no ideas idea.” From Dumb and Dumber spoofs to A.I. being all too real, this showdown had it all.
In the end it was H.E.N.K. that took home the top prize by 3 time showdown winners Charles Nasby, Jordan Ettinger and Boe Nasby. From there my companion I made the treacherous, near pitch black drive home in the thickness of the rain clouds blotting out the moon and really any other light aside from oncoming high beams and the occasional road line or marker. Needless to say we both were on full alert navigation heading back to the city lights.
Given the travel time and travellers budget on this one Thursday nights Pro Photographer showdown was a no go. Sorry guys and gals, I’m sure they killed it as per usual but that one just wasn’t in the cards for us. So instead we made it up by calling in a few favours and landing a free place to crash for both Friday and Saturday nights. Effectively allowing us to cover Intersection and all of Saturdays Events.
By the time we got sorted on Friday evening and a couple local Devil’s Gate brews in our bellies or Whistler Taxi chariot was outside and we were swiftly carted off into the night. Well the WCC to be exact. Upon entrance the place was packed. And so it should be on a Friday night 9:30pm showing at the foot of the village. Finding seats at this point was simply a no go. So standing room with a cocktail high top was good enough for us. The event tonight, Intersection, was 5 ski and snowboard (and sometimes snowmobile) films all made under the same restrictions in and around Whistler/Blackcomb filmed over a period in March when generally the most snow is deposited on the range. Enabling the best possible outcomes and scenery seen the world over. Now let me tell ya... They did not friggin’ disappoint. Unlike myself in the eyes of my mother daily growing up. From the most epic overshoots to the cleanest landings. From big mountain to backyard with all the features in between these films showed no sense of time or limitation, just simply a whole lot of rippers showing the packed house how it is done and what a “proper” film looks like when all the polish is applied.
Given the severe lack of nutrient and solid food intake we’re not going to lie... The heel-toe express was the best decision although most likely the longest possible means of travel back home. Thankfully Rotten Ronnie’s was still open to provide us with some travel companions for the adventure.
Given the previous nights adventure team Live Fast was back in action bright and early the next morning. A quick stop at the media centre to see the super helpful gals Julia, Dee, and Cheyanne running the show and we were off the hill. One gondola packed with strangers drinking “power fuel” mixed with tea followed by one chairlift and we were halfway to the top of the massive mountain. Luckily we had a bit of time to take in the fresh snow from the heavens coupled with blistering winds near the top before the epic and almighty Sudan Coulier Extreme Ski Race was about to begin. Horstman Hut for the most delicious Swiss-Cheese-Melted-On-A-Piece-Of-Ham-On-Top-Of-A-Croissant I have ever had then down to the start like of the SCESR. Now this is the part where we tell you that not only was Sylvain Sudan there in-person at the start line to meet the racers who were about to attempt this feat to say the least with a bag smile and the same gear he’s worn for at least the last ten years. But once at the top looking down you really grow a true appreciation for what he accomplished with the gear of his day. This is no casual look down a hill thinking to yourself “yeah no sweat, this is going to be a cakewalk.” This is a “can you please give me a little push cause my knees are locked and my ski’s don’t seem to be moving me forward” type of Super G course. Check out our photos, you be the judge, and just remember when scrolling though. It is always steeper in person.
The Top Spots were as follows: Stan Rey (2:16.36) & Marie-Oier Préfontaine (2:24.46)
After being blown away by the pure cojones of these competitors and the sheer skill used to conquer especially the first 1/4 of the track we were off to check out a different course. The final stop of the Monster Energy Boarderstyle. Essentially Boardercross meets Slopestyle. A drop in, then step-up, a couple hard banks, a drop, skim the pond, another couple corners, a scattering of trees in the middle of the course for good measure, some more banks, then the final entrance into the massive half-pipe leading to one big jump where the bigger the trick the better the chance you have of winning. Think Speed Racer meets Seb Toots, they somehow had a baby, and that baby grew up to be the slickest and fastest snowboarder out there throwing down constant hammers. That’s what it takes to become the King and Queen of Monster Energy’s Boarderstyle Tour. This year Scot Brown and Alexa Welgan proved they are that offspring.
After a long day on the mountain covering the epic events of the 2018 World Ski and Snowboard Festival we decided to take in the local scene and take up friends new and old on their suggestions for dinner and drinks. Big thanks to the Whistler Brew House, and La Cantina for providing us with delicious food and libations to prep us for The End. The de facto end to this years WSSF. From 10pm to 4am you can’t find a better party to cap off a beyond epic Winter season up Whistler.
Starting the week in a whirlwind and ending it with a trip to Scandinave Spa would have been the topping on the cake. Unfortunately an early morning drive back to the city was what we had in store. That’ll have to be courtesy of Live Fast to their hard working employees *wink*wink*. Hopefully reading this, at this point you really feel like you missed out on something special. You did. But that is ok, there is always next year!