The meat in the sandwich 

Ski and snowboard events are the heart of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival

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Tickets are already sold out for many of the Telus Whistler Ski and Snowboard's iconic events, like the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown and the 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown, and most of the other cultural events are expected to sell out when all is said and done.

The festival mainstage - actually, pretty much every stage in Whistler - is crammed with musical acts, starting with Fort Knox Five on April 15 and finishing with Ozomatli on April 24.

There's the dog parade. The return of the Slush Cup. A late-night DJ party. Arts shows. Even if one swore off sleep for 10 days you still wouldn't be able to see everything.

But while the festival has grown and the arts, music and culture side has grown, the heart of the festival - the middle S and S - have always been Ski and Snowboard.

The festival hosted some of the first freeski competitions in the world and was one of the first venues to host the sport of ski halfpipe.

Tanner Hall, now recognized as one of the top park skiers in the world, used to come to Whistler with his parents as a teenager and win thousands of dollars - though he was still too young to take part in the after-parties. The World Skiing Invitational was also the coming out party for Silver Star freestyle alums Justin Dorey and T.J. Schiller, as well as current halfpipe world champion Mike Riddle.

On the snowboard side, the event has hosted the best in the world over the years, from freeride pioneer Terje Haakonson to a teenage Shaun White. More recently it's evolved into a community event, where athletes focus on the fun as much as the progression of the sport - a welcome addition to a competitive calendar that ramps up in November and goes non-stop for close to five months. And it's never been this entertaining - dual moguls might not be an Olympic event, but it's as entertaining as snowboarding gets and shows off a level of all-around skill that's nothing short of impressive. It's snowboarding for the love of snowboarding, beer and hot dogs.

 

2011 is kind of a big deal...

There were two pieces of big news coming into the 2011 WSSF.

The first was the announcement that the World Skiing Invitational - April 20 to 24 - was going to be the world championship event in the newly created Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) world tour - one of only a few platinum level events on the tour, alongside the X Games and the Dew Tour. Athletes can earn points in superpipe, slopestyle and big air, and overall tour winners will be recognized alongside the World Skiing Invitational winners.

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