The Party’s Over: A Week Worth Trying to Remember at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival

Sometimes a week can feel like a year. Case in point: The Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. I arrived home yesterday morning feeling something like the dudes in The Hangover—brain swimming with overstimulation, and a bit of a case of the what-just-happened’s. To spark my memory, I turned to a collection of photos. What the camera revealed:

Pro Photo ShowdownThe Pro Photographer Showdown was packed, and the surf guys dominated.


Even the lifties seemed to think staying home and drinking was a better idea than riding, despite the attraction of slushy afternoon hit runs.

K2 Party

Parties. Lots of them. The Asymbol Gallery Opener (see video, below), Dead Prez, Partysnake, and everything Grenade Games.

And even a fair bit of snowboarding. Grenade Games Halfpipe

But for the sake of brevity, and with coverage already up from the Grenade Games Moguls, Pipe comp, and Asymbol Gallery opening, I will simply focus on the last weekend of the festival. Saturday arrived cold and wet, with a fresh dusting up high and an inviting hot tub below. Bunked up in the Whistler-Blackcomb media house, I chose to enjoy the lap of luxury for a day. After, all, we had reservations for Sushi Village, and needed to save strength for the Grenade Games Grand Finale and Savage Blade after party. A 6pm departure seemed to suit the festival—night time recreation had become the norm.

Sushi Village

So, it wasn’t until several sake sake margaritas, an encounter with a bachelorette party, and a healthy dose of Ahi Po that we migrated to the hill for the Grand Finale—a spectacle to be sure. Kael Hill rode naked, with only a beer keeping him modest. Andrew Burns threw down all over the course, tapping the 30-foot pole jam, sliding picnic benches, and bringing multiple spin variations to the gap booter up top. Vera Janssen, the only female in the finale, rode smooth, despite her claim that “Snowboarding in the village was really awkward.” Mark Sollors, Thursday’s Most Radical Dude of the Day, solidified his standing as Most Radical Dude of the Festival and won a key—and later a brand new yellow Camaro—with under-rotated backflip attempts in front of the media scene at the GLC and technical bonks-of-death on the log jam. And Dave Fortin stepped up with fifteen minutes left in the contest, silenced his inner demons from a 90-foot knuckle collision last year and shut the contest down. Whistler’s Ryan Proctor later said, “Dave Fortin is a local hero. I watched him break his nose and his tail on his snowboard during the moguls. He had cuts on his face and didn’t even know it.”

Despite oversized checks for $10,000 and a big bottle of JD on stage, this still seemed a warm up for the night to come, and hangover to follow. A later discussion with organizer Dano Pendygrasse—and the defending BC amateur mogul champion—confirmed as much when he described the upcoming show. “I don’t know if anybody knows Savage Blade, but they’re from Fernie, BC, and part of the band is from BC/DC. This is their second show, I’ve been listening to their demo cd for a month and a half, but they sound like they’ve been playing together for 20 years. It’s going to be like going to see Judas Priest in 1984. Just wait.”

Dano Pendygrasse

Let’s just say it lived up to the hype—it may have been the rowdiest mosh pit to ever grace the slopeside venue and fueled jagermeister shot dominoes, torn shirts, and a few bloody noses, to say the least. It’s Tuesday, and I’m still shaking off the cobwebs left over from the Grenade Games and the festival—precisely how Dano planned it.

John Laing

Thanks to Michelle Leroux and Ryan Proctor from Whistler-Blackcomb, “house moms” Steph Rogers and Sarah, and Dano for an amazing week, and prompting me to begin a personal intervention and stay off the booze for the next few weeks. And I’m both excited and afraid to see how you can top it all next year.


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