Snow fest reach new heights 

More concerts, more payola, more events but still comes back to basics - snow

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How do you measure the success of this year’s Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival?

Is it the introduction of $20,000 in awards for artists and $100,000 for athletes?

Is it the addition of new events like the multi-sensory Fashion Exposed and the local art showcase of Brave Locals?

Is it the 50 free concerts, 164 live musical performances, 240 athletes, 350 media and 700 artists and performers the festival wielded over only 10 days?

However you chose to disseminate Whistler’s biggest sports/arts adventure, the real success lies in the snowfall on the first weekend and sunshine the following week.

"We ordered it especially for the festival," joked one of the organizers at Fashion Exposed.

Although final attendance figures won’t be tallied until mid-May (allowing time for Tourism Whistler to compile accommodation statistics), festival organizers tout this year’s action-driven, cultural extravaganza as Whistler’s best.

"The festival is considered the best yet," said festival spokesperson Cristiana Spooner. "We had 18,000 people at Big Air. Many of the events sold out as well."

Big winners included director Philip Nee Nee taking home $10,000 in prizes for his film Unlaced at the Filmmaker Showdown; Snowboard culture shooter Kevin Zacher won $10,000 as top dog of the 9 th Annual Pro Photographer’s Showdown; and Freeskiing legend Mike Douglas won Best Backcountry Line, and along with it a $20,000 grand prize.

If you missed out on the festival, tune into the festival’s largest international broadcast in history next fall. The festival will be televised in 122 countries.

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