Whistler, BC – Spring in Whistler has long been known for its high-level of competition. From the party-infused Westbeach Classic and eventual morph to the big-ticket World Ski and Snowboard Festival, the best riders and party-friendly tourists and industry types (hardly a mutually exclusive distinction) have filtered into the village every April since the early 90s to shut down the season in style. And this year, the Grenade Games came to town.
Kicking things off with a Sushi Village spectacle on Monday night, the riding portion of the games began with Tuesday’s Poker Run, a scavenger hunt-esque tour from Whistler to Blackcomb in pursuit of the best hand and a chance to play for high stakes with Danny and the Dingo.
Not one to turn down a healthy mixture of gambling and groomers, I took to the contest with vigor under sunny skies and slushy slopes at the crack of noon. From the red chair to the peak to peak, we were asked to complete a varying array of tasks; jib a picnic table, jump a cliff, take to the gondola with a friendly female card dealer, and bomb a hill on a noboard-not the best shred-device on a groomer day, but hey, everyone had to do it right?
With the last card collected and a time posted in the dual-slalom moguls qualifier (more on this to come tomorrow), I failed to make the final table but was happy to take in Vancouver Canucks playoff hockey while a multi-hour poker tournament saw Eero Niemela take the title-and a very fancy watch-in the late-evening hours at the Longhorn. With a party in full swing and a sun-filled tour of Whistler-Blackcomb under the belt, a few cold beverages whet the whistle with ease.
Indeed, the Grenade Games are upon Whistler, and if poker, parties, and slushy groomers sound like a good time, it is an event worth attending.