A week in Whistler
29 Apr, 2009
I’ve made the trek to Whistler for the past 10 years and it is always an adventure, this year I remained in Whistler for 7 days which I wish lasted longer. I have plenty of Whistler stories but they all stay in Whistler, thank goodness for that! Each year I find myself less enjoying the nightlife and enjoying more of the on-snow events and time I spend with friends. This year was no exception and I found myself in the happiest place on earth for me…Whistler, BC for a whole week with a bed, friends and a snowboard.
Photo: Kendra Tombu
So this post is highlights from the trip and really an overview of a week in Whistler.
The Best Moment
I was standing in the customs line at the Vancouver Airport surrounded by pro snowboarders, in fact snowboarders in general stand out from the crowd. I’ve met MFM a couple times, always a nice guy and a pleasure to talk with, he was two people behind me in line. The woman behind me was asking him questions about snowboarding and what he did and how her son or grandson wanted to get into snowboarding. The best moment and I can say that this surprised the hell out of me, was MFM giving her his phone number and telling her that the kid should call him up and he’d be happy to help him with any advice on getting into snowboarding. Wow, what a way to get someone stoked on snowboarding, to go out of your way and help out someone. How rare is that in snowboarding that pros step aside to help bring people into the sport?
Despite the rough economy hitting everyone hard, Telus Festival continued on with a good amount of people attending the festivities. Every year despite how bad the economy is, I managed to do Whistler on the cheapest budget possible. This year I spent $120 for the week in a condo with friends (top bunk of the bunk bed), I spent less than a $100 on food/groceries and drinks for the entire week and my travel arrangements including flight/shuttle was $88. On the way out, I got a hotel room which was $100 but that made it so I caught my flight on time in the AM and no worries on getting home. All in all…it was a cheap trip. My only gripe was the super slow internet in the condo. It seriously took hours to upload photos each day.
I was on the sidelines of each event and riding each day on the media pass which was amazing. While the magazines focused on the events entirely, I focused on my vacation around the events: The snowboarding, the apres, the fun on the mountain. Let’s be honest, I will probably never party with Dingo and Danny and I’ll probably never be the girl that is at the nightclub every night to score free drinks…I’d rather be snowboarding with people I have fun with. I really appreciate the companies that recognize online media as a way to get word out and the crew at Monster/Whistler/Marketing for using twitter the entire time. I was kept informed of every event, every party and everything going on in Whistler including new relationships of lesbians in drunken moments (classic and that went out on twitter!).
I’m in the spotlight on the right
When I was standing in customs line and I was wondering if the pro’s around me would get through I didn’t even think about what I was going to say to the customs officers. It didn’t cross my mind how funny it would sound when this conversation went down.
Customs Officer: Where are you going?
Customs Officer: Why are you going?
Me: It’s a pleasure vacation (damn customs form says for business or pleasure, so pleasure popped in my head…first mistake).
Customs Officer: Who are you staying with?
Me: I’m in a condo with a bunch of Canadians (second mistake)
Customs Officer: How do you know them?
(AHHHHH EFF HOW DO I EXPLAIN THIS?!?!?!)
Me: Well um I talk to them online, we talk on facebook.
Customs Officer: You may go… (yeah no idea what he was thinking).
I mean really how do you explain to someone that you met this group of friends through snowboard.com 5 years ago, that you talk to them on facebook and chat, that you see them once a year because you get along, enjoy each other’s company and continue to remain friends.
The funny thing is I have known all of those people for at least 5 years, at a time when snowboard.com was a community and when I enjoyed being there. I left before the downfall but because of the site, I met some rad people and I just happen to come to Whistler with them to spend a week together during every Telus Festival. We all share the same passion for snowboarding and I have fun with them.
I got to see my snow knowledge mentor Gorio for drinks on the very last day who got the best text of the trip a reply from me saying “fuck well”, Dennis my buddy from Stevens Pass who came up for ride time and drinks, Andrew from Agoodreed and I think he encountered me after a couple drinks so that was fun, I got to hang out with Tara another snowboard.comer who was the first person I talked to on that site and years later we still talk and have fun, plus meet Allie from VancityAllie blog another new canadian that I can meet up and ride with like a day hasn’t passed by since we last saw each other.
It was my first time and you know I’m glad I waited till it was in Whistler. The events were awesome, it made Telus Festival a lot more fun and more snowboard specific. There were some great athletes to watch and I really had to laugh when I overheard that someone was bummed Shaun White wasn’t there…like um, okay then. I’ve never been to an event where I felt bad for the athletes competing and the Dual Slalom Moguls of icy death were really it…riders with no edges were trying to ride down unsuccessfully. It was hard to watch without feeling bad for laughing at the pain they endured. The superpipe was great, I’ve seen Tj ride in person but seeing him in the pipe was just watching a man on a mission. I watched him eat shit a lot and every time he got up and did better the next run. The Big Air was fun to watch but I didn’t stick around for the finals, so I made sure to watch the coverage that everyone else did exceptionally well.
Each year I anxiously await the list of companies at the demo days hoping to get brands that are harder to try out. This year you could tell the economy was hurting because there were less snowboard demos on the mountain, it does cost money and I can see how companies might think it’s not beneficial. This year I was able to ride Bataleon, Prior, Salomon, Drake, Atomic, Stepchild during the demos. Just off the top of my head, last year when I rode Drake I wasn’t impressed…this year when I rode Drake, I was impressed. Atomic, Stepchild were fun and awesome to ride their reverse cambers. Bataleon, was a good all mountain board…not my style so much but it grew on me after the 2nd run. Prior goes to show one person can love it and another not be in love with it. Marc rode the AMF rocker and loved it, I was like eh it was not my style, heavier and great for charging but the runs weren’t that long so I wanted to have fun. Salomon was another so-so, rode like a cadillac but really good at high speeds. So it was a demo weekend of just seeing what board was fun in the conditions, what it was meant for.
That being said…I’ll be back again next year to attend my favorite festival of the year and ride Whistler-Blackcomb.