Coldsmoke Awards to melt Whistler hearts with top winter films 

U.S. movie tour comes to the resort for the first time on Dec. 14

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - North of the sun One of the films showing at the Coldsmoke Awards screening.
  • Photo submitted
  • North of the sun One of the films showing at the Coldsmoke Awards screening.

The Coldsmoke Awards, which shows the best mountain culture films at winter resorts around North America, is coming to Whistler for the first time.

The awards and tour have been around for 10 years, says co-founder Brad Van Wert, who is bringing the show to Millennium Place on Saturday, Dec. 14.

"It was started to celebrate winter filmmakers in an Academy Awards-style format (in Bozeman, Montana). We have roughly seven categories a year. There's an emcee and presenters, there are three nominations, we see the clips and the envelope is opened and we find out the winners," Van Wert says.

After presenting the awards for a few years the Coldsmoke Awards team realized they wanted to share it with a tour; this year it takes in five resorts, including Big Sky and Jackson Hole. The 2014 awards will be presented in Bozeman on Jan. 18.

The films showing in Whistler range from three to 24 minutes in length and include Dreaming, North of the Sun, Super Mom (an exclusive premier), Shades of Winter: A Female Freeski Movie, Seek Passion Be Compassionate: A Snowboard Tale, and Wrangelled.

Van Wert says: "Subjects are wide, there are a lot of snowboard and ski films but another thing we try to recognize and celebrate are the people working out there who are based in story and in people effecting change in the winter culture or inspiring others or just telling fun stories about community. Those films really rise to the top."

Van Wert said they came to Whistler a year ago on "a scouting mission" to see how they could include the resort in the tour. They shared a few films at The Longhorn Saloon.

"I developed a heavy Whistler crush while I was there. What a great place. As well, we got to check out Millennium Place, where we are showing it now," he said.

"Another thing that made the resort important to be at is that one of our major sponsors, Coldsmoke Apparel, produces all of their gear out of Vancouver and Whistler is the backyard to them."

Those who can't make it will be able to see all the films online for free at  The people's choice award, a big part of the event, can also be voted for online.

"One thing we're really proud of this year is that we've been working with (Whistler filmmakers) Mike Douglas and Jeff Thomas at Switchback Entertainment and they've always been big supporters and they've offered us two of their Salomon free-ski TV episodes to show in the tour, prior to them being shown on the internet. We're really excited to be able to share them with people," Van Wert says.

In taking films about alpine sporting life to resorts in the U.S. and Canada, Van Wert sees something special about the mountain folk who inhabit them.

"It's part of the reason we moved on in the first place and started the tour. There is a very cohesive community (between the resorts). When we started working with this network of filmmakers, we realized they were working out of different communities but they knew each other or were aware of each other. Our motto is that we celebrate and strengthen the winter culture through art. We come to communities and see this overwhelming theme of being with people who love to be in the mountains.

Show times are 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available at Club Shred pricing is $10.50, available in person at Millennium Place front desk only.


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