Can we get a F@$k Yeah for The Festival?
Shins on the armrest just above my soggy snowboard boots. Face held up ever-so-gently by the other armrest. Static blaring at the highest volume possible on the TV.
Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival: 2005
Eventually I woke from that slumber, finding myself in the dank embrace of a 3-bedroom basement suite known as MDK. The lair had been named after its inhabitants: Matty Richard, Dom Melanson and Kris Cormier. Good f@$king skiers, to say the least. They’d opened up their house and showed me their mountain.
I suppose all the trying-not-to-die had worked up quite a thirst. And when I found myself unharmed after a hard day of powderboardin’, I celebrated with a few litres of lukewarm lager on the Longhorn Patio.
My memory fails me now (weird, I know) and I can’t remember who was playing on the main stage at the time. But I can tell you for certain-ish that Jurrasic 5 was playing the following year. Chali 2NA was rappin’ to the ladies, we were drinking beer out of coffee cups (A FESTIVAL TRADITION!) and some bearded dude in a one-piece was running his own choreographed dance routine on the slope behind the action of the show.
I still think about that man. Who was he? Is he still here? And where did he find the four megababes that flanked him during his routine?
These are the questions of festivals past. I tried to answer them by moving from Golden to Whistler and sinking myself balls deep in the mountain culture that The Festival does such a damn good job of celebrating.
13 years later, the only thing that’s changed is that I now pass out on my own couch. MDK still shreds (though the “K” lives in Calgary now) and The Festival’s still the magical combination of debauchery and shredding that it’s always been.
Another one has just passed, taking with it an absolute laundry list of bad decisions that seemed like really good ones at the time. This year was especially taxing, but in the best possible way. There was pow on the mountain every single f@$king day.
Say what you will about this town, it’s a really good time.
Sure, Busta Rhymes was late because he accidentally went to Windsor instead of Whistler (rumour confirmed) but he seemed pretty damn stoked once he finally arrived. We were stoked too. But really Busta was just the icing on the cake after a day of overhead faceshots with the mates in the Blackcomb backcountry.
There’s change in the air around here though. Sue Eckersley, the woman behind Watermark Communications who’s been shouldering the organizational side of The Festival for the last 11 years, has stepped down. Both Whistler Blackcomb and Tourism Whistler say that the show will go on. But with the Intergalactic Empire of ski resorts taking control of our beloved mountain, it’s hard to say what things are gonna look like around here next April.
I’ll tell you one thing though:
No amount of change can take away our right to shred pow on the mountain, drink beers in the sun and then pass out in our boots before dinnertime.
I just hope The Festival’s still around so I have another chance to find that bearded man in the one-piece.
I have so many questions for him.
Main image: Some time near the beginning of The Festival, Lars Andrews hacked a left-hand slash on a tasty right-hander in the Blackcomb backcountry. Photo: Jamie Bond
See you next year?