Maxed Out 

Party on, Frankendude

By G.D. Maxwell

In a town riddled with irony – 5,000 square foot monuments to wretched excess and self indulgence sitting dark and empty while four workerbees share a bedroom the size of a walk-in closet and get dinged $600 each for the privilege – the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, rolling through the valley for the next Whistler-dozen days, verily drips the stuff. It is the dessert table at a diabetic convention. The two foot powder dump on freshly mown golf course greens. The drowning man’s glass of water.

WSSF – approximating the sound a formerly extreme huckmeister makes trying to say "what’s up" after a drop gone bad has driven his front teeth into his nasal cavities – is Whistler’s collective orgasm after a season of endless foreplay and wet spots as large as, well, as large as Whistler and Blackcomb. We’ve managed to keep it up without any signs of softening since the first rousing teases of December, through the crush of Christmas, the rain of January, April in February and a March best forgotten, lost in its own fog. If we survive the next 10 days, the town can collectively lean back on one elbow, smoke a cigarette, and hope this partner finally has the good sense to get dressed and leave so we can peacefully move on to spring skiing or roll back over and sleep ‘til noon.

But first, we survive The Party.

For years now the epicentre of springtime mountain kulture, WSSF should, by all rights, be long in the tooth and stale as yesterday’s baguette. That it is still vibrant and fresh enough to be slapped in the face for breaking the rules can be laid at the feet of Doug Perry, Frankendude. Doug was absent the day his teachers taught about success breeding complacency.

Working with a fanatically talented harem, surviving on Red Bull and Powerbars, Frankendude has laboured feverishly now for the better part of a decade shaping his Jihad on the doldrums of spring. Stitched together from disparate bits of snowsports and hype, shaped by filmmakers and photographers, infused with the pulsing nervous system of nonstop rock ’n’ roll, and wired with the brain of a hungover Aussie closing in on the end of a five-month bender but still ready to go out and party as soon as he finds a "clean" shirt in the waning season’s pile of laundry, WSSF is the mother of all mountain festivals.

When Frankendude unleashed this monster on the resort in 1994, the local villagers didn’t know whether to laugh at it or burn him out with torches. What kind of demented fool thinks he can pull off a grand finale at a mountain resort in April... before or after the floating holyday of Easter? What kind of demented fool even wants to? Let’s face it, according to collective wisdom, skiers have pretty much hung up the boards by the time fashionably white shoes make their annual appearance. Golf, gardening, sailing, nude sunbathing and recovering from ACL surgery replace sliding as their favourite pastimes.

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