Maxed Out 

Pssst, this year’s password is sturgeon

By G.D. Maxwell

Three weeks ago, it looked as though the 10 th anniversary of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival was going to break new ground yet again. This time by embracing such genre-breaking snow sports as extreme golf, team suntanning and dirtboarding.

But in a post-ironic world where Canada’s federal ruling-party-for-life can claim to be the victim of an elaborate scam – hatched, of course, by themselves – to funnel taxpayers dollars through bagman ad agencies straight into their own party coffers and the pockets of Big Jean Chrétien’s close, personal friends, assistants, thugs and, for all we know in our porous publication ban ignorance, wife’s handbag, a major visitation by winter in the early days of spring makes at least as much sense as holding the best damn mountain kulture celebration in the middle of April.

Party on, Dude!

Roll out the cake, blow out the candles, ooh and aah about the precocious little Party That Could, fighting off the forces of infant mortality, commercial morality and entropic replication and instead, living to celebrate 10 years of music and mayhem without becoming a jaded caricature mired in mindless repetition and golden oldies.

This year’s WSSF – pronounced locally like the excitedly inhaled exclamation of an Econobrit tourist gasping "What’s This!" upon discovering the day’s special at his bargain basement, all-inclusive chalet is dog stew and chips – is just like last year’s WSSF only with a whole bunch of changes, deletions and additions. In other words, Doug Perry and his harem have reinvented what was and launched what will be.

What will be – must resist the urge to finish that sentence with "will be" – is even more art, more partying, more festiveness, more coming together of the clan of shredders and wannabe shredders and those poor, deluded souls who just want to make "the scene."

What won’t be is the mondo Big Air, drunken naked clambake at the base of Whistler Mountain. There are at least three good reasons for this glaring, epoch-defining omission. First, it made the athletes feel cheap, like so many hoppin’ and jumpin’ hunks of meat on display for a ravenous, NASCAR-tinged crowd just waiting for a pileup in the second corner. Second, it’d been done to death. Even with last year’s emergency room Big Splat of the security-dodging financial wizard whose buddies bet him into thinking anyone, even he, could hit a kicker at warp speed and stick the landing, there was an abiding sense of déjà vu to the Big Air events and a curious, nostalgic desire to start a snowball riot just for old time’s sake.


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