Mountain culture in story form at WSSF 

Multiplicity's multitude of speakers explore living a good life

click to enlarge TED X - Passionate life Sherry McConkey is one of the speakers at this year's Multiplicity, where she will talk about the life and legacy of her late husband, Shane.
  • Ted X
  • Passionate life Sherry McConkey is one of the speakers at this year's Multiplicity, where she will talk about the life and legacy of her late husband, Shane.

Multiplicity returns to the World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF) for its fifth year.

Billed as "adventurous storytelling at its finest," the evening is taken over by nine world-class athletes, explorers and personalities using a multi-media mix of photo slideshow, video and anecdotes.

Rather like a mountain culture TED Talk, it is one of the most highly anticipated events at WSSF and takes place at the Whistler Conference Centre on Sunday, April 9.

This year the speakers are father-and-son photographers Aaron and Hawkeye Huey, snowboarding legend Ken Achenbach, climber Leslie Timms, global circumnavigator Colin Angus, Shane McConkey Foundation founder Sherry McConkey, freeride guru Brett Tippie, environmentalist Tamo Campos and adventurer Jon Turk.

The sheer variety of experiences promises a moving and sometimes hilarious night, with all the speakers having in common a desire to live a good life.

McConkey, in fact, made a TED X talk a year ago on living life to the fullest, inspired by her late athlete husband Shane, who died in a ski-BASE jump accident in 2009.

"My talk is about being authentic and how authentic Shane was," she says.

"It leads into what Shane did for me, because he was authentic and generous and what he did for the world, not only the ski community."

She said that the TED X talk was emotionally difficult, but is happy to be returning to Whistler to speak at Multiplicity.

"It's a big honour for me to talk about Shane and continue his legacy. It's important for me. And I have the foundation for Shane, we're doing our main fundraiser next week, and it makes me so excited. So many things have happened because of how Shane was and the foundation keeps his light alive," McConkey says.

Over $300,000 has been raised by the foundation for programs near the family home in Squaw Valley, Calif. The foundation also runs a national environmental competition, The Shane McConkey Eco Challenge.

Achenbach hasn't quite figured out what he will be speaking about yet, but he thinks "staying young in Whistler" is a good theme.

"Or being a local but never being a local. Or enjoy happiness," he laughs.

The father of snowboarding agrees that he has a lot of experience to draw on.

"I've been goofing off my entire life," he says.

"I was just laughing with my buddy Jeff about how people complain that Whistler has been ruined, the soul's gone or whatever, right? But in my books it's the best it's ever been."

He wants people to understand that they're as happy as they want to be, rather than search for a reason not to be.

"You sit on a chairlift as long as I have and you sit with pretty much everybody eventually and hear everything," he says.

"I've been to pretty much every ski hill going and there is nowhere like Whistler, as far as having everything in one place and as far as the outstanding vibe. There's nowhere like this town."

Tickets to Multiplicity are $25 and can be purchased at www.wssf.com.

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