Whistler is undeniably magical all-the-year-round but there is one time of year that stands out above the rest: The World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF). From mountain culture at its finest to skiing and snowboarding alongside the greats, here are some reasons WSSF is the Whistler trip you simply can’t miss:
Spring Skiing at its finest, and flashiest!
The festival in mid-April is perfect timing for some of the best skiing / snowboarding of the year! With a season’s worth of world-class snowpack beneath you and the warm Spring sun above, you can ditch the long johns and icy runs. With warm sun and soft snow you’re free to wear what you want: the brighter and crazier the better! Shred the gnar in your favourite t-shirt, bikini top or onesie alongside everyone from Pikachu to the Power Rangers and more.
Free Outdoor Concerts & Events
Every year Whistler hosts a stacked lineup of talented musicians and DJs for afternoon and evening events – many of which are free and open to all ages! The 2020 lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but past years have seen performers A Tribe Called Red, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Scratch Bastikd, Mat The Alien, Five Alarm Funk, to name just a few. Join the locals jumping around in the snow to free, live tunes after an epic day on the slopes!
Watch the Pros… and join them!
From the Big Air Invitational jump contest to World Championship Boardstyle races and more, watch any of these events from the slopes… free with your lift ticket. If watching isn’t enough, sign yourself up for the Slush Cup and see if you can send it across the pond. You may even go home with a prize for the best costume or best trick! At the very least you’ll go home with some serious snow cred (or is that slush cred?).
Celebrate Mountain Culture
Whistler’s unique mountain culture is showcased this time of year at film screenings, arts parties, storytelling events, and photography showdowns. A mecca for mountain-lovers, WSSF gives talented creatives a chance to show off their best: prizes are on the line! Things get especially exciting in the 72-hour filmmaker showdown: see the results of 72 hours of frantic filming, editing, and producing. In the photography showdown, admire amazing scenes shot locally. Join the fun and vote by ping pong ball for your favourite film or photo series!
Epic Aprés and Nightlife
Whistler’s Aprés and nightlife scenes are always on point but they are especially amped up for the festival. In addition to the official events – free concerts and competitions, many happening right at the base of Whistler – there are more official and unofficial, free and ticketed events happening all across the village. Party with the locals, party with the pros: ax-throwing, scotch-tasting, epic parties with professional acrobats serving champagne from above… there’s so many things to choose from and stumble upon!
Whistler World Ski and Snowboard Festival is one for the bucket list and the record books. Come to experience one of the coolest warm-weather mountain culture festivals in the world. Go home with awesome memories, a bunch of free swag, and a well-earned goggle tan – souvenirs of the pros.
Speaking of the pros, here are a few pro-tips to make the most of your WSSF weekend:
- Plan ahead and get event tickets in advance: while many events such as the outdoor concerts are free and open to anyone, if there’s something specific you want to do or see, grab your tickets in advance because the big events (like the film and photography showdown nights) do sell out!
- Wear sunscreen: if you’re like most people in Canada, your skin has been hidden under multiple layers all winter, and is ready to fry when exposed to the new spring sun, made even more potent by all that white snow. Save the burn and lather up, so you can go home with a pro goggle tan instead of a rookie sunburn!
- Pack a costume! Neon tights, zebra onesies, gundam costumes, on festival weekend anything goes! If you’re coming with friends, go for gold with matching costumes!
- Don’t fill your bag… leave room for sales & swag! There are tons of places handing out free stuff, and even more places with cool festival swag and end-of-season sales. If you’re in need of new gear, don’t wait until next season: take advantage of Whistler’s prime end-of-season deals!
- Finally, book ahead: this trip only happens once a year and it will probably sell out!
Written by Janelle Visser
Credit: Jump for joy photo project