Thirty-two inch impact 

Skateboarding a major element at this year’s TWSSF

If this year’s lineup is any indication of things to come, the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, or TWSSF as it’s known by both lingo-happy types and the lazy, might want to consider adding another "S."

That would be S-for-skateboarding, a major element at this year’s festival. It’s impossible to miss. A public, covered ramp in Village Square has been embraced by skaters of all ages since the festival erected it last week.

More significantly, skateboarding is ruling the arts scene this year.

The Pro Photographer Showdown’s past winner encore showcase format means the return of illustrious shooters J. Grant Brittain, founder and photo editor of The Skateboard Mag, and Jon Humphries, whose work is a fixture in the pages of Transworld Skateboarding.

The Brave Art exhibition on display in a temporary space in the Whistler gondola building has a major skateboard focus.

New to the festival and curated by Cec Annett, a resident of Whistler and California, Brave Art features the 32 Inch Canvas touring exhibit of hand-painted skateboard decks. There are also old school designs by Wes Humpston – the original artist for the Dogtown Skates boards from the mid-late 1970s – and works by street artists such as Shepard Fairey whose Obey Giant propaganda designs have been embraced by the skateboard community.

Brave Art is also showing the Freshjive-sponsored Mad Dog Chronicles – a touring exhibition documenting the larger than life skateboarding and persona of original Z-Boy pro Tony Alva in the mid-late ’70s through the photography of Wynn Miller and the groundbreaking Alva Skates ad-designs of Eric Monson. Both artists were in attendance at the exhibition’s opening reception on Monday evening, along with Mad Dog himself.

Alva came to town for a special invite-only advance screening of the upcoming Sony/Tri-Star Pictures feature film Lords Of Dogtown , about skateboarding’s original ‘Z-Boys’ Zephyr Skate Team – a legendary group whose surf-inspired renegade street style is credited with defining modern skateboarding and changing the face of alternative action sports.

Alva is a main character in the film, which was written by Z-Boy Stacy Peralta, also the filmmaker behind the award winning documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, on which Lords Of Dogtown is based.

Lords was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, known best for the edgy coming-of-age flick Thirteen . Both Alva and Hardwicke were guests of the event.

Hardwicke has accepted a last minute invitation to join the judging panel for the festival’s 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown tonight (Thursday, April 14).

And if you want to track down Tony Alva go straight to the Whistler skate park. The active, Redbull-guzzling old-timer (he champions living sober and chemical-free over the "rock ’n’ roll lifestyle" he became notorious for as a teenager) has been sessioning the concrete bowls as much as he can.

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