Big Mountain Experience set to entertain and challenge all. 

Whistler Blackcomb is revving up for the first edition of what it hopes will become an annual internationally-popular festival: the Big Mountain Experience.

Running from Jan. 7 to the 12 the festival is built around the Canadian Freeskiing Championships and Avalanche Awareness Days.

Between these two anchoring events are peppered some great opportunities for adventure and outstanding entertainment.

"We want it to become an event people won’t want to miss," said Christopher Nicolson, manager of public relations and communications for Whistler-Blackcomb.

Every day those looking for some excitement and some great advice on using the backcountry wisely can head out with professional guides from the Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau. Skiers and snowboarders will be taken outside the ski area boundary for a full day of serious vertical and a true taste of the Coastal Mountains.

There will also be intensive clinics on telemarking. All levels of telemarkers are welcome.

And if you have been dying to try a new pair of skis, or a new board, give it a go on Jan. 11 and 12.

By leaving a credit card and picture identification you can demo skis or a board for one-and-a-half hours for free.

On Jan. 9 Whistler is hosting a Freeride Day. Advanced and expert skiers and riders can go on-mountain with those who know the mountain best – the Whistler Freeride Team. You can find out where Eric Pehota’s favourite gladed area is or hit the park with Kevin Sansalone.

The Freeride days are only open to those 19 years and older who hold a season’s pass or lift ticket.

But that is not all, oh no that is not all.

For the first time in Canada adventurers will be able to participate in the Lifelink/Dynafit Randonnee Rally on Jan. 11.

Participants in the alpine ski touring competition will navigate a course that winds its way up, down, and across the mountains.

Amateurs and professionals are welcome to take part in the race which offers separate routes for each ability level.

To register call 1-800-443-8620 or go online at , or visit the village location of the Whistler-Blackcomb guest relations office.

The hope is that this festival will keep visitors in town after the New Year and bring new guests in at a time when the resort often hits a quiet spot.

"We looked at the early January period and that was a period that we were trying to build business in," said Nicolson.


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