The Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF) returns for this 2022/2023 season after a three year hiatus and boy oh boy does it ever feel great to be back.  WSSF is a week-long festival that consists of three main event categories:

Multimedia Events

  • The 72 hour filmmaker show down (April 11)
  • Sea to sky photo challenge (April 12)
  • Intersection – Ski and snowboard film competition (April 13)

Musical Acts and Parties (April 10-16)

  • Vinyl Ritchy
  • Foxy Moron
  • Stache
  • Grand theft
  • Fidel Cashflow
  • Tzen & Dooda
  • And more

Sporting Events

  • Saudan Couloir Race Extreme presented by Helly Hansen (April 15)
  • The Slush Cup presented by Corona Tropical (April 16)

Over the last three days (April 11,12,13, 2023) SKIER Magazine was lucky enough to attend the multimedia events in Whistler.  The energy at these events was electric.  All three shows were completely sold out. The Westin Ballroom was packed full of pro skiers and boarders, top level photographers and filmmakers, industry professionals and tons of stoked Whistler locals who came out to support their favorite teams. 

72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown

The first multimedia event of WSSF was the 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown.  This was an open competition that featured 7 teams shooting, editing, and producing a 3-5 minute short film in just 72 hours within 100 km of Whistler.  Teams were not allowed to shoot on Whistler Blackcomb property which resulted in films that were about ski culture and living in a ski town rather than action packed ski movies you may picture when you think of a ski film festival.

All seven films were really good in their own ways but in the end there can only be one winner.  The esteemed panel of judges selected the film entitled “Would You Rather,” produced by Two Dontas one Proctor to take home the top honors of the night and the $5,000 cash prize.  This film is about a harmless game of would you rather that becomes reality…

The people’s choice award went to a comedic film entitled “The Buttler,” produced by Kyle Killeen, Mike Dandurand and Chris Dane German.  A story about overcoming the adversities of living in a ski town and doing whatever it takes to make ends meet.

Sea to Sky Photo Challenge

The second multimedia event was the Sea to Sky Photo Challenge.  The showcase featured six invited photographers – Jessy Braidwood, Spencer Watson, Tyler Ravelle, Rob Perry, Ben Giradi, and Jeremy Allen. These photographers presented their portfolios and showcased their all time favorite images capturing the essence of sports, culture, and the human spirit. 

Some competitors’ slide shows focused solely on a specific genre like skiing/boarding or mountain biking, but in my opinion it was the slide shows that featured a wide range of images that really stood out.

In the end it was Tyler Ravelle who took home the best in show award along with $3,000.  His slide show featured a wide variety of images ranging from winter sports, water sport, landscapes and motorsports.  This slideshow was truly captivating and awe inspiring.

“This is my Super bowl,” Tyler Ravelle says in his acceptance speech. Photo by Oisen McHugh

Squamish-based photographer, Jeremy Allen, took home People’s Choice as determined by audience vote at the show.   This was another slide show that featured just about every outdoor action sport you can think of.  A+ work. 

Photo by Oisen McHugh

Intersection – Winter Sports Video Contest

The third and final multimedia event was Intersection. Intersection is a ski and/or snowboard video part contest.  This event pushed five crews to their limits as they challenged themselves to shoot, edit, and submit a four to six minute winter action sports edit within a 12 day timeframe.  The invited teams were Out of Service, Dongboyz featuring Kendra, Dead Barbie’s, Matchstick Productions and The Blonds.  All five edits were great and featured pro level skiing and boarding with elements of story telling peppered in.

Out of Service, one of the veteran crews for Intersection, secured first place and took home the $10,000 cash prize. Led by Geoff Brown, this crew did a mountain culture spoof on South Park which secured top spot. The animation looked EXACTLY like a real South Park episode and the boarding and snowmobiling was top notch. They made such a sick edit.

Photo by Oisen McHugh

Dongboyz + Kendra, led by Brin Alexander, claimed second place and $5,000 cash prize. This film features Brin Alexander and the Big Mountain Collective. Issue 21.1 Fall actually has a full length feature about these guys, if you want to read more about them click here. Their film is all about shredding super steep spine walls mixed in with a little drama, courtesy of Kendra.

Photo by Oisen McHugh

The Dead Barbie’s claimed third place and a cash prize of $2,000.  This was the first time competing for this majority female crew, led by Sam Tuff, and not only did they win the hearts of the judges, but also the attendees and claimed People’s Choice.  Who would have thought that skiing and horror could go so well together.

Photo by Oisen McHugh

Please, more events like WSSF

Events like this are so important for our industry.  They provide a platform for athletes, photographers and filmmakers to showcase their work and get feedback from professional judges as well as form the live audience reactions. 

It was so great to rub shoulders with so many passionate snow sports athletes, reconnect with old friends and meet so many like minded people.  Events like WSSF are fantastic for bringing the community together and showcasing local talent. I am so happy that events like this are back and I wish that every ski town would put on a show like this. I cannot wait for WSSF again next year.

Look for The Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival event coverage part two coming soon. It will be covering the Saudan Couloir Race Extreme, presented by Helly Hansen, and The Slush Cup, presented by Corona Tropical, taking place this weekend, April 15 & 16. If you are in the Whistler/Vancouver area be sure to come check it out. Stay tuned, that will be coming very soon.

Huge shout out to WSSF, everyone working behind the scenes and to all the sponsors for making this event happen, it was such a great time.  Thank you so much for not only supporting and promoting ski and snowboard culture, but also for combining the two disciplines into one inclusive event.  I think a bit of cross pollination is great for both sports.

Event sponsors include Creative BC and the Province of BC, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler, Helly Hansen, Corona Tropical, Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler,  Forecast Ski Magazine, King Snow Magazine, Mountain FM, Scandinave Spa Whistler and Gibbons Whistler.