editorial 

The first World Ski and Snowboard Festival gets underway today, appropriately enough on Good Friday. By now most people in town have heard of the festival and are aware of some of its activities: the Couloir Ski Race Extreme, the Air Canada Whistler Cup and the World Masters Alpine Open are annual affairs that have been around for a while. The return of the Westbeach Classic, the World Technical Skiing Championships, the North American BoarderCross Championships and the B.C. Freestyle Championships make the competitive side of the festival bigger than anything anywhere else. Industry Week promises something for everyone interested in skiing or snowboarding and the instructors festival should provide for some great exchanges of ideas. But the festival includes a lot more than skiing and snowboarding. The FamilyFest may ultimately be the most exciting part of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. FamilyFest promises at least three activities a day for a segment of the population often overlooked by this resort. The Trofeo Topolino event in Italy, the model for the Whistler Cup, is very much a youth festival, including art shows and sports other than ski racing. Former SKI magazine editor, and soon-to-be Whistlerite, Ed Pitoniak told Chamber of Commerce members last fall that Whistler should not forget about youths. Through FamilyFest activities, ski and snowboard competitions and demonstrations the festival is showing off Whistler and all it has to offer not just to the confirmed skiers and boarders, but to future generations of skiers, boarders and people who enjoy the mountains. Some people in town seem indifferent to the festival, coming as it does at the end of a decent but long and not particularly memorable winter season. There is not (yet) the fever that surrounds the World Cup, but give this festival a chance. Take in some of the 22 events over the next 10 days

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