Features Articles Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival

Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival

Ski Super Pipe Finals
Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival
Big Sugar, Grady, Elias, Classified, and More
Whistler, BC
April 16 - 26, 2010

Photos and Article by: Tom Eschenbrenner

When I moved away from Whistler the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival was barely 5 years running, now in its 15th incarnation it has morphed into a showcase of talent, mixing music, arts, and sports all as one huge 10 day party held every April in Whistler BC.

In fact, it's now the largest free outdoor concert series in Canada. But there's no shortage of on-hill talent either, and it's scary how good these guys and girls are. If you're into music and extreme winter sports (or just into the people that do it), then these 10 days are the best party around.

Music is definitely central to the festival and if the live music stops there's a host full of noted DJ's to keep the music pumping on the hill or late into the night. For a full list of bands checkout the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival website. Also, I've posted complete sets of photos for both music and sport on the AudioStills website and on my personal Flickr page. For this article, there were definitely some bands that deserve some special attention.

Starting at Day 3 was Jon and Roy. This Victoria-based 4 piece band is an easy listening mix of rootsy-folk that just got your toes a tapping. Next up was a Keller Williams. I'm not typically impressed by a one man show, but Keller has truly earned his title as "Music's mad-scientist". He flawlessly moves between instruments, looping the sounds into a captivating blend of jazz, electronica, folk-rock and sometimes even a hint of reggae. I know it sounds crazy but he's one madly talented singer song-writer, overall musician. He's back south of the border now and currently on tour across the U.S.

Day 4 gave some main stage time to Whistler locals Brother Twang, and headliners Redeye Empire was another West Coast band (Vancouver) with strong reggae beats bridged with a little rock-pop-ska. I don't see any tour listed, but if they hit the road I'll be up front jamm'n, and shooting!

Jon and Roy   Jon and Roy   Keller Williams   Brother Twang   Brother Twang   Redeye Empire   Redeye Empire  

Day 5 is Ski Super Pipe Finals! A serious 22' deep Olympic half pipe, a DJ, Kokanee beers, and a hill full of world class talent. Skiing at this level is sick, and watching it on TV doesn't do it justice.

Ski Super Pipe Finals   Ski Super Pipe Finals   Ski Super Pipe Finals   Ski Super Pipe Finals   Ski Super Pipe Finals   Ski Super Pipe Finals   Ski Super Pipe Finals   Ski Super Pipe Finals   Ski Super Pipe Finals  

After an afternoon spent in awe of those who flew overhead, it was time to head down the mountain. No time for any bands this afternoon for me, but Five Alarm Funk was owning the day headlining the main stage and following up after hours in the club series of shows.

Tonight is the filmmakers showdown and this was something I was really looking forward to. Dozens of film makers gather in Whistler with only 72hrs, a random prop, and a 100km radius to come up with a 3 - 5min film. Very entertaining. Check some of the videos on the Columbia 72 Hr. Filmmaker Showdown sub-site.

Skipping ahead to Day 7, it's an epic spring skiing day. It's sunny, warm and the snow is soft and slushy near the bottom. I'm on cloud nine, but things just get better as Elias take the stage and lay out a great set. Next up was Juno nominated Classified who hails out of the Nova Scotia. With over 15 years of entertaining, 13 releases, and five top 20 hits, rapper Luke Boyd brings it and the crowd pulses with every rhyme.

Elias   Elias   Elias   Elias   Elias   Elias   Elias   Elias   Elias   Elias   Classified   Classified   Classified   Classified   Classified   Classified  

Tonight is the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown and it's another stellar showcase of imaging talent as 6 top photographers lay it on the line for bragging rights... and $10,000. You can check this out a few shots in the Pro Photographer Showdown Finalists 2010 PDF.

The weather clouds over, but that won't stop some of the best snowboarders in North America from taking advantage of one last shot on the 22" Olympic sized Halfpipe. Another impressive display of talent as these pro's make it all seem so effortless. The snowboard finals are open format so it's informal and up to the riders to impress with their own mix of freestyle and super hits. More free Kokanee, more DJ's, more good times.

Snowboard Super Pipe Finals   Snowboard Super Pipe Finals   Snowboard Super Pipe Finals   Snowboard Super Pipe Finals   Snowboard Super Pipe Finals   Snowboard Super Pipe Finals  

It's Friday and it's a huge day on and off the hill. The weather is still damp and cool but Current Swell along with Big Sugar do their best to heat things up on the outdoor stage. Yes, that Big SugarGordie Johnson has been hard and loud in the Canadian music scene since 1988 and the band's bio reads like a who's who of Canadian music, producing tracks for the Joel Plaskett, Taj Mahal, The Trews, BTC and many more. This show was the first since 2003 as Big Sugar headed out on a 2010 tour.

Current Swell   Current Swell   Current Swell   Current Swell   Current Swell   Current Swell   Current Swell   Big Sugar   Big Sugar   Big Sugar   Big Sugar   Big Sugar   Big Sugar   Big Sugar   Big Sugar   Big Sugar  

As things settle down, they start to heat up yet again with We Are The City and The Zolas doing a flawless blend of musical accompaniment for Fashion Exposed, a rounded look at modern designers for swim, snow, between the sheets. Think bare-skin hotties blended with talented indie music. Amazingly, these two bands swapped spots on stage no less then 5 times, endlessly distracted by runway models, and yet never missed a beat.

We Are The City   We Are The City   We Are The City   We Are The City   We Are The City   We Are The City   The Zolas   The Zolas  

Still not ready to call it day, the place to be was back toward the Whistler Gondola to see Flash Lighting and Grady try to blow the roof off. Gordie Johnson and Big Sugar used to be know for LOUD LOUD shows and it's more of the same from Gordie's newest project Grady. This is a rock show! More 12 string guitar, amps, and pickups cranked. But it wasn't just loud it was a great rock show!

Grady   Grady   Grady   Grady   Grady   Grady   Grady   Grady   Grady   Grady  

I'm wrapping things up but events music and mayhem continue right though Sunday and into Sunday night. Main stage wrap-up is no stranger to the WSSF having closed out the festival last year, Arrested Development takes the stage and shows just how deep their musical talent is. No introduction needed, these hip hop rappers are Grammy winners, with numerous top 10 singles in R&B, hip hop and dance.

So why go to WSSF in 2011? Music, fashion, art, x-treme athletes, Kokanee parties, two outdoor stages with the largest free concert series in North America, over 250,000 festival visitors, Canada's top resort, night clubs, fame, fortune with $120,000 in prize money, car giveaways, product giveaways, demo skis and boards, 2 mountains, sun shine, patios, awesome food for every budget, fame, Monster drinks, and if you have the time and energy you can ski or board all day. You never know who you might meet on that next chair. See you there!