Explore Whistler’s Great Outdoors…Later

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has made the decision to cancel Whistler’s Great Outdoor Festival (GO Fest), originally scheduled for May 15 to 18, 2020.

The RMOW’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of the Whistler community. As much as we all love celebrating the great outdoors at GO Fest during May Long Weekend each year, the best thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home. We will continue to monitor the situation and determine the next appropriate steps based on advice from health authorities. Please continue to wash your hands regularly, practice social distancing, and follow the directions of our health authorities. Adventure can wait for now, and Whistler will be ready to welcome you back with wide-open arms when it is safe.

Being adventure smart in the springtime backcountry

The recent sunny weather has been gorgeous for heading into the backcountry on skis, a snowboard or sled for springtime lines, outstanding views, and end-of-day hangouts catching the final rays with your friends. But, as we all know, the backcountry needs to be treated with respect. We caught up with Joelle Tiessen, Marketing Director of Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures (MSAA), for guidance on how to safely make the most of springtime in the backcountry.


Dress in layers:it get warm hiking in the Spring. Photo credit: MSAA


What steps do you recommend beginners take before heading into the backcountry to ski, snowboard or sled?

Tiessen: Before anyone heads into the backcountry, the first step is always to take a Level 1 Avalanche Skills Training (AST 1) course. This course makes you aware of the dangers of travelling in uncontrolled terrain and beyond the ski patrol resort boundaries. [In resorts patrollers manage the terrain and are also available for rescue. “Uncontrolled terrain” isn’t managed to reduce the risk of avalanche or other hazards such as crevasses, and rescue may not be possible—Editor.] If you are planning to go into the backcountry you want to always carry a transceiver, probe and shovel. The AST 1 course teaches you how to use these tools in an avalanche rescue situation and how to stay out of avalanche trouble spots so hopefully you never need to use those skills.


Learn about safety in the backcountry on an introductory Level 1 Avalanche Skills Training course. Photo credit: MSAA


What would you recommend somebody brings in their bag on a backcountry trip? AdventureSmart recommends these 10 items (a flashlight, fire-making kit, signaling device, extra food and water, extra clothing, navigation/communication aids, first aid kid, emergency shelter, pocket knife and sun protection), but do you have any further tips? 

Tiessen: One item that we would add to this list is a repair kit for your gear. You don’t want to have a binding or pole or other key item break while you are way out in the backcountry. If something does break, having spare parts, duct tape, ski straps and a multi-tool can come in very handy and make the difference between getting back before dark or spending a long night out.


Duct Tape can get you out of a sticky situation.


Is avalanche.ca the best website to check on conditions? Or do you know of other resources? 

Tiessen: For the Sea to Sky area, avalanche.ca is the best resource for avalanche conditions. It’s also good to get in habit of browsing a Facebook group like South Coast Touring to read about individual experiences in specific locations. Another source for a little geeking out is the Wayne Flann Avalanche Blog. There are many more, but find your favourites and keep current on local conditions throughout the season.

The backcountry is a pretty intimidating place, do you recommend any ways for newer adventurers to get ongoing guidance and mentorship? 

Tiessen: There are several local groups who meet up casually (like South Coast Touring on Facebook) and welcome new tourers (who have taken AST1), there are also mentor groups like Mountain Mentors for women. Hiring a local ski guide for a day is a great way to get into new terrain and learn tips to make your touring experiences better and safer. Many local shops also offer clinics for free or a minimal fee on certain dates throughout the season. And if you like to geek out a little, our local bookstore [Armchair Books. You can also try Whistler Public Library.] has titles on avalanche topics and there is also YouTube for mini instructional videos to keep your skills fresh. If you are very new and not sure you’re ready to commit to all the gear and training, just take an Intro to Backcountry guided tour where you can get a taste and see if touring is for you.



What should experienced backcountry adventurers do to keep their skills fresh? I’ve heard it’s important to take an annual avalanche safety refresher course.

Tiessen: It is good to practice your avalanche training skills regularly, especially at the beginning of each season. You can do this with your touring friends or take a one-day refresher course with a professional guide to continue learning. There are also options to build more advanced rescue skills by taking a Companion Rescue Skills clinic or going even farther and taking the Level 2 Avalanche Skills Training course. There is a snow field up on Blackcomb Mountain near the Rendezvous where patrollers bury transceivers to practice searching, and members of the public are welcome to practice there as well.

If someone is vacationing in Whistler, is there a way for them to safely experience this area’s backcountry without owning all the equipment? 

Tiessen: The best and safest way for visitors to get into the backcountry is to go with a local guide who can show them around terrain appropriate to their skill level. There are a couple of local businesses that specialize in renting all the touring gear you need from skis, skins, splitboards, transceivers, probes and shovels and even avalanche airbags. MSAA’s tours do not include rental gear but we partner up with Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre and they offer our guests a 20 per cent discount on most rental gear. [Excess Backcountry is another option—Editor.]

Read more about being adventure smart in the backcountry here and Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures. For more adventures, join us at GO Fest from May 17 to 20.

Stretch it out: yoga in Whistler

Whether you’re a dedicated yogi, or looking to ease aches acquired in this area’s famous mountains (perhaps from skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, skating, fat-tire biking, or dogsledding—have I forgotten something?). It’s nice to come in from the cold and reset with stretches, some quiet, and perhaps even get a little sweat on. Here’s a sample of what Whistler has to offer:

For yoga right in Whistler Village

Yogacara is the place to go. This popular studio is at Sundial Crescent, right in the heart of Whistler Village. Make sure you sign up in advance because classes are small and they sell out. The classes include energetic Vinyasa, classic Hatha, ab and back-strengthening Hatha Core, Gentle Hatha, dynamic Flow, soothing Restorative and slow-paced Yin for a deep stretch.

For warming up on a chilly day

Neo Whistler, part of the YYoga chain familiar to Vancouverites, offers YHot yoga: a series of slow postures at a balmy 40 degrees. The light-filled Neo Whistler studio at Function Junction has a unique selection of classes: heart-rate raising Power and Power Intermediate, dynamic Flow, Core Fusion that brings together Pilates, yoga and fitness, and Escents Aromatherapy Yin, a slow-paced class to the scent of essential oils.

For a gym atmosphere

Whistler Core gym at 4010 Whistler Way in the Village has fitness-based Flow Yoga. The class moves quickly and fluidly between poses in the Vinyasa style, so prepare to raise your heart rate.

For a slower pace, head north of the Village to Meadow Park Sports Centre’s Stretch and Restore Yoga. This gentle evening class is a great way to unwind after an active day.

For cultural types

The Audain Art Museum blends art and yoga at their Art After Dark yoga classes. The classes are free with admission, but make sure you sign up in advance because the classes are popular.

For water lovers

Not all yoga classes take place indoors: SUP Yoga (or stand up paddleboard yoga) is a yoga class, on a paddle board, outdoors on a lake. Since staying out of the water requires some balance, yoga on a paddle board really targets the stability muscles and the core, making this both an unusual and a challenging class. Both Whistler Eco Tours and Backroads Whistler have SUP Yoga in the summer months. Keep an eye on their websites to find out when the classes kick off.

For 18 to 35 year olds

LUNA has yoga on Thursday evenings at the LUNA Lounge in the lower level of the Maury Young Arts Centre in the Village. The classes are only $3, or free for LUNA members, and they are run by a group that provides fun, alcohol-free nightlife events for 18 to 35 year olds, hence their name: Late and Unique Nighttime Alternatives (LUNA).

For pregnancy-friendly yoga

Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to help a growing, transforming (and often aching) body work with the changes of pregnancy. Meadow Park Sports Centre’s class is holistic: it includes gentle flow with Pilates-based exercises and yoga postures that build strength and flexibility. The prenatal yoga class is led by a specialized instructor and designed for women between 12 and 40 weeks of pregnancy. The classes are a several-week program and require your doctor or midwife’s approval to participate.

For an enormous yoga festival

Wanderlust Whistler is a multi-day yoga festival filled with workshops from renowned teachers, meditations, speakers, sound baths, hikes, speakeasies, slacklining, fantastic food, dancing and music (Broken Social Scene, Nahko and Medicine for the People are playing free outdoor concerts this weekend). This year Wanderlust runs from Thursday, August 1 to Sunday, August 4.

For yoga during GO Fest

Make sure you join the free GO Fest yoga workshops at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Details of the GO Fest schedule over May 17 to 20 will go live in the coming weeks.

Zeroing in on waste reduction with AWARE’s Zero Waste Heroes

Did you swing by the AWARE Zero Waste Station at GO Fest this year? If so, perhaps you were struck by the thought: “Zero waste? With thousands of people?!”

AWARE recycling booth

Recycling with AWARE

But nothing makes a person check exactly which recycling bin their organic salad container goes in quite like a cheerful Zero Waste Hero’s supervision (see above). And a little education never goes awry: did you know Whistler introduced flexible plastic package recycling this summer? To date, AWARE has diverted more than 90 per cent of waste at 135 events. These events include GO Fest, Canada Day, Whistler Farmers Market, the Whistler Village Beer Festival and RBC GranFondo Whistler.

Zero Waste Hero Program Successes

Zero Waste Hero Program Successes

So how does an event achieve zero waste? Does it mean nobody’s salad container goes in landfill? Yep. Does it mean banning needlessly wasteful contraptions like single-use coffee cups? Not exactly, but they’re designed out of the event.

“Whistler has had a goal of becoming a zero waste community for over a decade. The Zero Waste International Alliance defines Zero Waste as 90 per cent diversion from landfills and incinerators. While diverting 90 per cent of waste is a significant accomplishment, the Zero Waste Heroes Program aims to get as close to 100 per cent as possible,” said Stephanie Redmond, the projects coordinator at AWARE. Then she forwards the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s definition:

“Zero Waste is a ‘whole systems’ approach that considers the flow of products and materials from the first stages of product and process design, through resource extraction, manufacturing, consumption and disposal. Waste is seen as more than just garbage—it is seen as a valuable resource. Given this broader perspective, the Zero Waste approach aims to minimize the consumption of materials at the beginning of the product ‘lifecycle,’ in order to reduce the environmental impact of the product at the later stages.”

We asked AWARE what inspired the goal of zero waste at events?

“There is a growing recognition of the impact our stuff has: the images of plastic in the oceans, the impacts on wildlife and the growing number of communities developing zero waste strategies highlights the understanding that when we throw something away there is actually no such place as ‘away’. Also people recognize that just because an item can be recycled it doesn’t mean that a) it is successfully and b) it is the highest and best use of that material. For us, the focus is on how to build on this growing AWAREness and connect people with the solutions and actions we can all take in our homes, workplaces and lifestyles,” said Claire Ruddy, executive director of AWARE.

Finally, what steps can everyone take that warm your Zero Waste Hero hearts?

Reduce, reduce, reduce, reduce and take pride in it.

• Reduce energy: turn up the chunky sweaters and turn down the heat.
• Reduce waste: avoid single-use items. Drink your coffee out of a reusable or an old-fashioned mug—we swear it tastes better. Carry your own water bottle. If you like straws, get nice reusable ones (FYI: most come with a little scrubbing brush so the insides stay impeccably clean). Own great glass lunch containers—bonus, did you know most are oven safe? Support the incredible local produce in this area at the summer farmers markets, and bring reusable cloth bags to put your produce in at the grocery store.
• Reduce water waste: set a two-minute timer when you shower or compete with the folks you live with to find who can shower fastest—while still covering all bases on hygiene.
• Reduce fuel use: download some podcasts and take transit. In spring, summer and fall, when possible, travel by bike on Whistler’s stunning Valley Trail.
• Reduce consumption: reduce what you buy new by choosing quality items you only need to purchase once, then repair what you have. Also, avoid plastic since every piece of plastic created still exists today.

Visit AWAREwhistler.org for details of upcoming AWARE events.

#GOFestWhistler with kids

Looking forward to an action-packed May long weekend with the family? GO Fest is teeming with activities to keep the good times rolling for, well, all the team. Check out the below itinerary, or visit this schedule for the full range of activities, to make the most of every day together.

Friday, May 18

Tour Whistler’s Village Stroll and take in the outstanding array of Street Entertainment on offer throughout the weekend. You’ll find live music, art, crafts and quirky characters in costume. The Street Entertainment runs from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, as well as noon to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Saturday, May 19

Packed your runners? Start Saturday with a dose of fresh air on the five-kilometer Whistler Parkrun along Lost Lake Park’s wide gravel trails. The run is an inclusive, bring-everyone, move-at-your-own-speed activity. Children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult. Babies are welcome in their strollers, but bring your big-wheeled running stroller because the course is gravelly. Fido must be on a short leash and there is a limit of one dog per runner. The run starts at the Lost Lake Passivhaus (which—whew—serves coffee, smoothies, and food) just a short walk from Whistler Village. (Cost: free. Arrive at 8:50 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start and register online in advance.)

Next up for all nature lovers is Make Your Own Birdhouse from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Gift a backyard home to the many North American birds who select birdhouses to nest in. (Cost: $15. Sign up on site. Birdhouse builders under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.)

Have a little skateboarder? Or an aspiring skater? The Vans Mini Skate Ramp is at the Whistler Olympic Plaza Pavilion from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on both Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20 (Cost: free. Ages 10 and older. Bring your own helmet.)

A second board sport is also on offer: snowboarding for kids ages three to six. Try the Showcase Burton Riglet Snowboard Park at Whistler Olympic Plaza from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A few years ago the littlest children typically started winter sports on skis, but these tiny snowboards are designed for the youngest participants.

Explore Whistler’s unique natural spaces at the GO Green Nature Scavenger Hunt from 1 to 4 p.m. at Florence Petersen Park (beside the Whistler Public Library). The hunt is guided by adventure leaders who teach fun information about the importance of biodiversity, forests, waterways and wildlife. (Cost: free.)

Sunday, May 20

Grow your own sunflower and learn about sustainable gardening at Dig, Sow, GROW! at the AWARE tent at Whistler Olympic Plaza from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gardening tools, organic soil, compostable cups and seeds are provided. (Cost: free.)

Do your littles keep their eyes peeled for fire engines? Police cars? Is garbage day—with the garbage truck—the highlight of their week? Up to 100 shiny vintage British cars will be in Creekside Village from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. for the All British Car Show. (Cost: free.)

Bike, walk or drive (but driving means you don’t get to enjoy Whistler’s Valley Trail) to The Point Artist-Run Centre for an afternoon of activities from noon to 4 p.m. There will be bocce and brunch, live music, indoor and outdoor activities, and a Musical Instrument Swap and Jam Session.

Not been to The Point before? It’s a magical location that is now a creative hub for the community, with a series of historic buildings, a lawn down to the lake, and docks where Whistler Sailing Association launches boats. (Cost: free. Bring a musical instrument if you want to join the swap. Click here if you need directions to The Point, 5678 Alta Lake Road.)

Monday, May 21

Swing by the GO Fest Haven tent at Whistler Olympic Plaza for the Discover Nature with Whistler Museum workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Discover Nature is a public education program that includes touch tables with a range of Whistler’s nature hosted by nature interpreters. All ages are welcome. (Cost: free.)

Then afterwards head back to the Village Stroll to take in more Street Entertainment from noon until 6:30 p.m.

#GOFestWhistler with the boys

Got GO Fest plans with your guy group, but feeling awed by the looong list of Long Weekend activities? No worries. We’ve gone through the list and sorted the best, from the frankly also-awesome rest.

Thursday, May 17

Keen to get a head start on the weekend and a lot of cardio? Join the Retro WORCA Toonie Race. The cross-country mountain bike ride starts at 6:30 p.m. Remember to raid your dad’s basement in advance because the ride has a dress code: a retro bike and outfit. The race is part of Whistler Mountain Bike Heritage Week presented by the Whistler Museum and sign in at Arbutus Routes, unit 112, 4557 Blackcomb Way. (Cost: $2 for WORCA members (membership is $60 for adults, $25 for youth, and $15 for children aged 12 and under. Buy your membership online and sign the waiver online too).

Friday, May 18

Begin your Friday night with the Story of Whistler’s Alpine Mountain Bike Trails at Whistler Museum, 4333 Main Street. Trail builder Dan Raymond and WORCA’s Director of Planning Todd Hellinga will tell the history of Whistler’s trails and describe the building of the hotly anticipated (and charismatically monikered) Lord of the Squirrels trail. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the talk begins at 7 p.m. (Cost: entry by donation to WORCA trail maintenance.)

Continue your evening with two surf documentaries as part of the Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film Series. Transition will be screened at 9 p.m. at the Maury Young Arts Centre. The story follows surfer Noah Cohen face and overcome injury. Next up: Sian Sessions, from Deus Ex Machina, documents the people, places and adventures found during the making of iconic surf film South to Sian. Expect big waves, motorbikes, and dramatic cinematography. (Cost: $15. Purchase tickets online.)

Saturday, May 19

Start your Saturday at 8:50 a.m. with an invigorating five-kilometer Whistler Parkrun starting at the Lost Lake Passivhaus, just steps from Whistler Village (and conveniently close to a big cooked breakfast post-run). The run heads through Lost Lake Park’s trails and around the lake which, like most of Whistler, has views of the local mountains. (Cost: free. Arrive at 8:50 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start and register online in advance).

Sun’s out guns out, so get your biceps ready for some competitive Forged Axe Throwing. The mobile trailer is open 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Whistler Olympic Plaza. The aim of the game is to hurl axes at a target to hit bulls-eye. Bring your finest lumberjack plaid. (Cost: free.)

Between noon and 4 p.m., get the party started at the Table Tutors: DJ Experience at Whistler Olympic Plaza. The workshop offers music mixing, live beat production and turntable tutoring. You’ll learn to scratch records, create a live beat and build a set. This workshop is available Saturday and Sunday, so you can stop by for more the next day. (Cost: free).

Mountain biker? Stop by the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre for a screening of Darcy Turenne’s mountain biking documentary The Moment, followed by a Q&A with freeride mountain bike pioneer Brett Tippie. Doors open at 8 p.m. (Cost: by donation to the BC Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike program.)

Enjoy climbing? Choose the 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film Series screening of Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey at the Maury Young Arts Centre. Fred Beckey was one of the most influential climbers, as well as a nomadic author and dirtbag who inspired generations of athletes to hit the road on a quest to further their sport. (Cost: $15. Purchase tickets online.)

Sunday, May 20

Brum brum. Do you love Austin Powers, The Italian Job, Goldfinger, Swordfish, The Spy Who Loved Me—ok most Bond movies—not for the narrative, but for the legendary British car engineering? Up to 100 vintage British vehicles will be in Creekside Village from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. for the All British Car Show. (Cost: free).

The final screening of the Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film Series begins at 5 p.m. with the Short Film Series: seven short films in 97 minutes followed by the Western Canadian premiere of surf documentary Proximity. Proximity is directed by award-winning filmmaker Taylor Steel and Produced by Teton Gravity Research (TGR). The documentary pairs surfing icons with young surfers today to explore the relationship between people, time and place in locations around the world. (Cost: $15. Purchase tickets online.)

In addition to the smorgasbord of activities above, GO Fest offers free concerts at the Village Square Mainstage. Juno-winning Canadian pop and alternative rock group The Philosopher Kings will launch the live music series planned for GO Fest at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night, May 18. On Saturday, May 19 at 3 p.m., Carmanah will lay down their unique west coast soul sound. Later that night at 7:30 p.m. roots rock quartet Current Swell take the stage. On Sunday, May 20 Coco Jafro will play their worldly funk fusion and musical rhythms from Africa to the Americas at 3 p.m.; followed by forward-thinking electronic music from the Funk Hunters at 7:30 p.m.


#GOFestWhistler with your girl crew

Heading to GO Fest for a girls’ long weekend with your favorite adventurers? The weekend has a packed schedule, and we’ve rummaged through for an itinerary covering the plentitude of activities for you and your gal pals.

Friday, May 18

9 to 10:30 a.m. Ease into your long weekend with Gentle Yoga & Essential Oils with Andrea Nacey at Whistler’s newest yoga studio Bear Paw Yoga. (Cost: drop-in $35, Bear Paw pass-holders: $15. Preregistration is required.) Then take your serenity over to the Village to explore and to settle in at your hotel.

Your evening starts at 5:30 p.m. with an hour-long Camping & Hiking: Packing 101 workshop at the GO Fest Haven at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Planning your packing will get you charged up for summer adventuring in Whistler’s mountains. The workshop will help you hone what you bring, and also learn to pack in a way that has fewer “hey has anyone seen the…” moments on trail. Fun fact: did you know women should distribute the weight in their backpacks differently to men? This takes advantage of the strong female lower body. (Cost: free. Sign up in advance at the GO Fest Haven). Afterwards pick up food as you stroll down the Village Stroll towards the Village Square.

The Philosopher Kings hit the Village Square stage live at 7:30 p.m. Yup, the Juno-winning pop and alternative rock group are live and free right in the heart of Whistler. (Cost: free.)

Then head back along the stroll to the Maury Young Arts Centre in time for the Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film Series Canadian premiere screening of In The Starlight at 9 p.m. directed by Mathieu Le Lay. The documentary follows outdoor photographer Paul Zizka as he searches out the world’s starriest skies. (Cost: $15. Purchase tickets online.)

Saturday, May 19

Ease into your morning with KIND Yoga from 8 to 9 a.m. at the GO Fest Base Camp at Whistler Olympic Plaza. (Cost: free. Just drop in 15 minutes early.) If you’ve not had breakfast, don’t worry, because everybody gets a healthy KIND snack after class. Yum.

Pick up the pace mid-morning at 10 a.m. with Whistler Cycling Club’s Road Bike Group Ride for all abilities. The club meets at Whistler Village Sports in Mountain Square. (Cost: free to Whistler Cycling Club members, $2 for non-members. Arrive at 10 a.m. to register and the ride leaves at 10:30 a.m.). The club will show you a sampling of Whistler’s incredible road cycling with views aplenty.

At noon you’ll head to the Alta Lake Station House for Paint with Isobel at the Lake. Isobel MacLaurin is a renowned local artist who paints Whistler’s landscapes with a bold, colourful eye. (Cost: free. Alta Lake Station House is not accessible by car, so park at Wayside Park and walk along the Valley Trail.)

Alternatively, if you couldn’t get enough of scent, join Essential Oils 101 with Aimee Decaigny at 1 p.m. at GO Fest Haven at Whistler Olympic Plaza. (Cost: free. Sign up in advance at the GO Fest Haven.)

At 3 p.m. the live music starts with a female vocalist in indie band Carmanah— known for their unique west coast soul sound—at the Village Square Main Stage. (Cost: free.)

Then get temporarily inked at Henna Fun at GO Fest Haven at 4 p.m. (Cost: $5 minimum donation. Sign up in advance at the GO Fest Haven.)

You’ll be ready for a glass of wine by now. Wine About Art runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the GO Fest Base Camp at Whistler Olympic Plaza. You create your own canvas guided by local artist Penny Eder of White Dog Studios. (Cost: $50. Register through White Dog Studios.)

Now it’s time for more music: roots rock quartet Current Swell take the Village Square Mainstage for the headline performance at 7:30 p.m. (Cost: free.)

Sunday, May 20

Planning to share your weekend on Instagram? Facebook? Snapchat? Give your online friends #FOMO by tuning up your photography skills at the Digital Photography Workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Alta Lake Station House. (Cost: $59. Alta Lake Station House is not accessible by car, so park at Wayside Park and walk along the Valley Trail. Register online here.)

Take a few hours to relax before the evening’s events. At 5 p.m. is the Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film Series’ Short Film Series that screens seven short films in 97 minutes followed by the Western Canadian premiere of surf documentary Proximity. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Taylor Steel and Produced by Teton Gravity Research (TGR), Proximity pairs surfing icons with young surfers today to explore the relationship between people, time and place in locations around the world. (Cost: $15. Purchase tickets online.)

Once again, finish the evening with another fantastic live music set from DJ duo The Funk Hunters at 7:30 p.m. Their electronic music is influenced by old-school soul, funk and hip-hop. Bring your dancing shoes. (Cost: free.)

Monday, May 21

Before you head back home again, there’s time for one final KIND yoga to start your Monday right. Join us 9 a.m. at the GO Fest Base Camp, Whistler Olympic Plaza. (Cost: free. Just drop in 15 minutes early.)

The Natural World Around You

Nature is a source of abundance, rich in biodiversity and the best playground around. There is a lot more happening in Whistler’s seemingly still forest and along the quiet shoreline than meets the eye. Keep these fun nature facts in mind next time you adventure and explore in the natural outdoors:

• Fungal species impressively outnumber plants in the temperate rain forest by ten to one! These species are often hard to see with the majority of their physical structure living underground, but are imperative to the forests survival. Remove them and the forest would not live on.

• Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four.

• Lichen are formed based on a unique symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae. These species can only survive when clean air and water are present, and are therefore symbolic of a pollution-free and healthy environment.

• Whistler’s forest is primarily coniferous, meaning the trees have cones. The Douglas-fir known for its fire-resistant bark and the Western Hemlock with its droopy top are some easy to identify local favourites.

• The oldest tree found in Whistler is over 1200 years old.

• Whistler’s many Wetlands are not only beautiful to look at and paddle through, but they also help clean water, prevent flooding, control erosion and are home to a plethora of local species.

These are only a few of the wonders Whistler’s wild backyard holds.

To learn more join expert Naturalists and First Nations Ambassadors on Saturday, May 19th at the GO Green Nature Scavenger Hunt at Florence Petersen Park between 1-4 p.m. A weather proof BINGO sheet will guide you around the park at your own pace and into conversations with our talented adventure leaders. From the cultural significance of the cedar tree to learning about umbrella species like grizzly bears, there will be something for everyone to learn as we explore the outdoors.

Whistler Film Festival Announces 2018 Adventure Film Series Lineup


Whistler Film Festival Announces Adventure Film Series Lineup
Experience Great Outdoor Stories at Whistler’s Go Fest on the May Long Weekend.

Whistler, B.C. (May 3, 2018) : Get ready for adventure and more! The Whistler Film Festival’s 5th annual Adventure Film Series returns May 18 to 20 as part of Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival (GO Fest), featuring a solid lineup of great outdoor stories. The action packed program features seven screenings comprised of 13 films that range from extreme sport to activism through adventure, including 10 shorts and three features from three countries, complimented by an adventure photo competition . Mountain biking, ice biking, environmentalism, surfing, climbing, kayaking, aerial photography, and traveling are among the series’ film themes.

WFF’s Adventure Film Series is dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating audiences about environments, cultures, issues and adventures through the power of the story. Above all else, it is a gathering for like-minded people who get together to celebrate the wonder of wild places and outdoor adventure.

“Whistler is a renowned outdoor adventure destination that attracts thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies,” says WFF’s Executive Director Shauna Hardy Mishaw. “WFF’s Adventure Film Series offers an exciting lineup for outdoor enthusiasts to experience great outdoor adventure through films, personal stories and photography.”

The series kicks off on Friday, May 18 at 7:00pm with the announcement of the winner of WFF’s Adventure Photo Competition followed by a screening of Mathieu Le Lay’s IN THE STARLIGHT . During the darkest hours of the night, while the rest of the world is sleeping, outdoor photographer Paul Zizka ventures out into the wilderness in search of the world’s starriest skies. His journey to photograph the celestial wonders takes him from his home amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the wild, desertdunes of Namibia and remote ice caps of Greenland. Ever the adventurer, he must balance his work and passion for photography with his equal devotion as a family man. The film will be preceded by the short film THE ALCHEMISTS directed by Whistler local and action sport photographer , Blake Jorgenson. The film follows Jorgenson through his home mountains of British Columbia as he talks about photography and creativity in the ever changing digital world that we live in.

Following will be a 9:00pm screening of Nate Laverty’s latest film TRANSITION, which follows Tofino based surfer Noah Cohen who struggles to overcome and injury that threatens to take away all he’s ever known. TRANSITION will be followed by SIAN JOURNALS directed by Dustin Humphrey from Deus Ex Machina, which is a collection of never before seen stories documenting the people, places and adventures that occurred during the two years making the 2016 film “South To Sian.” The film addresses the challenges, the surfers, riders, bike builders, filmmakers and photographers who helped to shape the iconic surf film.

On Saturday May 19, the day will begin with a 5:00pm Short Film Series screening. This series is comprised of seven short films featuring a range of different sports and stories from some of the world’s finest athletes with several films from WFF Adventure Film Series alumni including Chris Burkard, Mike Hopkins and David. I Strasser. At 7:00pm and 9:00pm, the Adventure Film Series proudly presents the Whistler Premiere of DIRTBAG: THE LEGEND OF FRED BECKEY directed by Dave O’Leske, which tells the passionate tale of world renowned dirtbag climber Fred Beckey who is hailed as one of the most influential climbers of all time.

On Sunday, May 20, the Short Film program repeats and the series concludes with a 7:00pm screening of legendary filmmaker Taylor Steele’s latest surf film PROXIMITY. Produced by Teton Gravity Research the film explores the delicate relationship between people, time, and place, showcasing surfing icons from different generations in diverse locations around the world.

Returning this year, WFF in collaboration with Mountain Life Magazine presents the Adventure Photography Competition as part of the series with the winning photo to be featured in the summer issue of Mountain Life Coast Magazine which hits the stands June 1. The top three photos will also be featured online on mountainlifemedia.ca. The contest is open to all ages and the top ten photos will be determined by an online, social voting system channel through WFF’s Facebook page with the winning photo and runner ups to be selected by a Mountain Life jury. The deadline to submit was May 1. The winner will be announced on the opening night of the series on May 18. Details are available at whistlerfilmfestival.com/events/adventure-film-series/.

All events will take place at the Maury Young Arts Centre. Filmtickets are $15 per program. WFF Adventure Film Series info and tickets are available online at: www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.

WFF’s Adventure Film Series is supported by GO Fest, an initiative of the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) funded through the Province of British Columbia’s Resort Municipality Initiative. GO Fest is part of the RMOW’s Festivals, Events and Animation program, and is one component of the larger May long weekend strategy. WFF’s Adventure Film Series is sponsored by Mountain Life.

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Media inquiries, please contact:
Jacki St. Thomas, Account Executive, Jive Communications
jacki@jiveprdigital.com • 310.625.7799

The Whistler Film Festival Society is a charitable cultural organization dedicated to furthering the art of film by providing programs that focus on the discovery, development and promotion of new talent culminating with a must attend festival for artists, the industry and audiences in Whistler. The 18th Whistler Film Festival returns November 28 to December 2. www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.

GO Fest, Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival, will take place May 18 to 21, 2018 in Whistler, located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia 125 kilometers (78 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia. GO Fest celebrates the convergence of winter and summer in North America’s premier four-season mountain resort. GO Fest, Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival is part of the Resort Municipality of Whistler Festivals, Events & Animation (FE&A) program and is funded through the Resort Municipality Initiative.

Whistler Film Festival Society • Charitable Registration #: 856677844RR001
208-1200 Alpha Lake Road, Whistler, B.C. V0N 1B1 • 1-877-838-FILM (3456) • whistlerfilmfestival.com


FRIDAY, MAY 18, 7:00PM
Film: IN THE STARLIGHT directed by Mathieu Le Lay preceded by THE ALCHEMISTS
Canadian Premiere
2017 | 51 mins | Unrated | France | Dir. Mathieu Le Lay
During the darkest hours of the night, while the rest of the world is sleeping, outdoor photographer Paul Zizka ventures out into the wilderness in search of the world’s starriest skies. His journey to photograph the celestial wonders takes him from his home amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the wild, desert dunes of Namibia and remote ice caps of Greenland. Ever the adventurer, he must balance his work and passion for photography with his equal devotion as a family man. IN THE STARLIGHT is an intimate portrayal of Paul’s quest to capture the night skies, and what his time spent under the stars has taught him about life, love, adventure, and our place in the universe.

BC Premiere
2017 | 8 Mins | Unrated | Canada | Dir. Blake Jorgenson
THE ALCHEMISTS follows action sport photographer Blake Jorgenson through his home mountains of British Columbia as he talks about photography and creativity in the ever changing digital world that we live in.

FRIDAY, MAY 18, 9:00PM


World Premiere
2018 | 31 mins | Unrated | Canada | Dir. Nate Laverty
Follow the story of Noah Cohen, a professional surfer from a small town on Vancouver Island. When an injury threatens to take away all he’s ever known, he’s forced to consider a life without surfing and find the strength to overcome.

World Premiere
49 mins | Unrated | Canada | Dir. Dustin Humphrey


Short Film Series
97 minutes | Unrated
Against the Grain (Canada) Dir. David I. Strasser
No Quarter (Canada) Dir. Max Berkowitz & Kevin Landry
In Constant Motion (Canada) Dir. Cameron Sylvester
Shots From Above (USA) Dir. Chris Burkard & Renan Ozturk
Escape (Canada) Dir. Anjali Nayar
Motive (Canada) Dir. Mind Spark Cinema
Dreamride 3 (Canada) Dir. Scott Secco

SATURDAY, MAY 19, 7:00PM & 9:00PM

Whistler Premiere
2017 | 96 mins | Unrated | USA | Dir. by Dave O’Leske
Hailed as one of the most influential climbers of all time, Fred Beckey is the original American “Dirtbag”–one who abandons societal norms and material comforts in pursuit of a nomadic mountaineering lifestyle. This rebel athlete’s lifetime of accomplishments set the bar for the entire sport. He shattered records with an unparalleled string of superhuman first ascents, bushwhacking trails and pioneering direct routes thought previously impassable. Beckey burned bridges, eschewed fame and stayed unencumbered so his only obligation would remain conquering the next summit. He kept meticulous personal journals where he mused on everything from arcane geology to his romantic life, to the myriad sunrises he witnessed from vantages not seen by anyone else on Earth. An environmentalist before there was such a term, Beckey’s legacy includes 13 essential books that act as blueprints for new generations. He defiantly continued climbing until passing away in October 2017 at 94.

SUNDAY, MAY 20, 5:00PM

Short Film Series
97 minutes | Unrated
Against the Grain (Canada) Dir. David I. Strasser
No Quarter (Canada) Dir. Max Berkowitz & Kevin Landry
In Constant Motion (Canada) Dir. Cameron Sylvester
Shots From Above (USA) Dir. Chris Burkard & Renan Ozturk
Escape (Canada) Dir. Anjali Nayar
Motive (Canada) Dir. Mind Spark Cinema
Dreamride 3 (Canada) Dir. Scott Secco

SUNDAY, MAY 20, 7:00PM

Western Canadian Premiere
2017| 50 mins | Unrated | USA | Dir. by Taylor Steele
Proximity is a film that pairs surfing’s living legends with today’s most progressive young surfers. The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker Taylor Steele and produced by Teton Gravity Research (TGR) in association with Garage Productions. Proximity explores the delicate relationship between people, time, and place, showcasing surfing icons from different generations in diverse locations around the world.