Tag Archives: snowboarding

Filming Mountains: Celebrating Whistler’s Rich Ski & Snowboard Filmmaking Heritage

Home to legendary terrain, prodigious snowpacks, and a uniquely creative and motivated collection of mountain-folk, Whistler has been a global epicentre for ski and snowboard filmmaking for close to three decades. The sheer amount of snow-riding bliss and wizardry that has been captured on film in our mountains and purveyed around the globe has played a huge role in Whistler’s rise as one of North America’s pre-eminent mountain towns.

To showcase this history the Whistler Museum, in partnership with the Whistler Film Festival, is excited to announce the upcoming event Filming Mountains: Celebrating Whistler’s Rich Ski & Snowboard Filmmaking Heritage.

Filmer Garry Pendygrasse, hauling gear around the Tantalus Range. Dan Milner photo.

Filmer Garry Pendygrasse, hauling gear around the Tantalus Range. Dan Milner photo.

Tying into the Whistler Film Festival’s closing-day lineup of mountain culture programming, the event will feature a collection of Whistler’s world-leading ski and snowboard filmmakers as they share the stories behind the most iconic moments they’ve captured on film. Through these behind-the-scenes accounts, the audience will gain unique and entertaining insights into the filmmaking experience.

The panel of presenters represents several lifetimes worth of experience on-location, behind the lens, and in the editing room, and they have no shortage of entertaining and enlightening tales to share.

Jeff Thomas, filmer for Switchback Entertainment, at the office.

Jeff Thomas, filmer for Switchback Entertainment, at the office.

***

Event info:

Filming Mountains: Celebrating Whistler’s Ski & Snowboard Filmmaking Heritage

Icons from Whistler’s snow-film industry share behind-the-scenes stories from some of the most memorable moments ever captured on snow.

Where: Whistler Museum (4333 Main St.)

When: Sunday December 8th, Doors 3pm, Show 4pm.

Tickets: $10, available at WFF Box Office

***

Speaker Profiles:

Created back in 2007, Salomon Freeski TV practically invented the ski webisode. Seven seasons and more than 100 episodes later, Switchback Entertainment, the team behind the groundbreaking series, continues to set the standard and redefine the genre. Members of the versatile filmmaking team, will share memories from their favourite SFT shoots.

BC born and raised, Garry Pendygrasse grew up skiing Whistler before turning to snowboarding in 1988. Four years later he got his start in the industry making films with Adventurescope, after graduating from Capilano University’s Media Program. He quickly acquired his own gear, and since 1995 has worked as a freelance cinematographer. He has worked with almost every major production company, as either a cameraman or editor. A cancer diagnosis in 2012 temporarily shifted his focus, but a successful fight has him excited to start new video projects in 2014. Garry’s segment will reflect on the relationship between filmmaker and athlete.

Epitomizing the free-spirited mountain lifestyle, Ace Mackay-Smith has done virtually every ski-town job imaginable. So it should come as no surprise that she lists filmmaker on her resume right along with DJ, go-go dancer, and various other titles. Working with such industry legends as Greg Stump, Scott Schmidt, and Craig Kelly, Ace is full of stories from exotic locales.

Christian Begin began his filmmaking career more than 20 years ago as a Sherpa and keen understudy for director Bill Heath, carrying a 16 mm camera package on a Warren Miller ski shoot in the Kootenay mountains of British Columbia. Since then he has gone on to become one of the most accomplished and prolific ski filmmakers on Earth. Christian has produced award-winning cinematic work through his former company Radical Films, on the classic NFB doc Ski Bums (which opened the inaugural Whistler Film Festival in 2001), and for clients such as Whistler-Blackcomb and National Geographic.

Prominent Whistler character and aspiring media mogul Feet Banks launched onto the scene with his cult classic 2001 film Parental Advisory. Feet will pay homage to some of the groundbreaking film crews that inspired him and so many other aspiring filmmakers to showcase the Coast Mountains’ amazing terrain and talent to the world.

Snowboarding’s History Needs Your Help!

People generally think of archives as big collections of dusty old stuff, but that’s only partially true. For starters, they’re generally kept impeccably clean so that their collections can be preserved in perpetuity. But what I was getting at is that we forget about the constant passing of time. Archives (ours included) are constantly on the hunt for artifacts and documents that will be of historical significance for future generations. Such considerations generally are not front of mind with all you non-archivists out there who are too busy living in the present.

Snowboarding is the perfect example. The profound influence that snowboarding has had on skiing (and beyond) over the last few decades is indisputable. But until recently, there were only a handful of individuals that were concerned with preserving the sport’s heritage for future generations. Thankfully, more and more individuals are showing interest in the snowboarding’s roots.

One way we are working to increase our snowboarding  content here at the Whistler Museum  is Monday’s Whistler Debates event “Has the Snowboard Industry Sold Out?” (full details available here). We’re pretty excited to hear what everyone has to say. 

Obviously it’s a pretty contentious question, even the concept of “selling out” is pretty hard to define for most. One thing that’s for sure, the debaters will have to draw on the history of snowboarding, it’s origins and where it came from, to effectively argue whether or not the industry has “sold out” and given up on its core values (however defined). Regardless of what side ends up winning the argument, we’re sure to get an entertaining and informative discussion that sheds light on the past, present and future of snowboarding.

When we were preparing for the event it became strikingly clear just how absent snowboarding is from our archives. We have an old Prior snowboard, some 2010 Olympic memorabilia (gear, uniforms, etc) donated by Sea-to-Sky athletes like Maelle Ricker, Justin Lamoureux & Tyler Mosher, and a few dozen aesthetic but non-descript photos in our archives.

Right now, according to our archives, this is the history of snowboarding. Help us fix this. Photo: Greg Griffith/WMAS

Right now, according to our archives, this is the history of snowboarding. Help us fix this. Photo: Greg Griffith/WMAS

This is clearly unsatisfactory. Even moreso because this fall we will be completely revamping out permanent exhibits here at the museum, with almost half our space being dedicated to new displays portraying the history of skiing (and snowboarding) here in Whistler.

We don’t want snowboarding to get short shrift, so here it is: Snowboarders, we want your stuff! If we want to properly represent the history of snowboarding in Whistler–and there’s no denying that snowboarding has been hugely influential on Whistler’s development, and vice versa–we need historic gear, photos, clothing, race bibs, and any other artifacts and documents that shine light on this story. Check your closets, attics, crawl spaces, or mom’s basement. We know this stuff is out there. And we promise to take better care of it than you do!

If you’ve got stuff to donate, get in touch with our Collections Manager Brad: archives[at]whistlermuseum[dot]org

For those who are interested in brushing up on their snowboarding history, thankfully there’s been a ton of great online video content produced in the last few years. Good starting points include Vice Magazine’s “Powder & Rails” series, Push.ca’s “Living Legends” series, and this video produced by Whistler-Blackcomb a few years ago, featuring local shred legends including Graham Turner, one of Monday’s debaters:

Hope to see you all on Monday, and for those of you in Whistler, have fun at the rest of the WSSF events as well!

Has Snowboarding Sold Out?

WSSF Debate poster

With the return of “The Festival” upon us yet again, winter gets to enjoy one last hurrah in the spotlight before we officially begin looking forward to summer. Here at the museum, we’ve taken this as an opportunity to reflect on the meteoric rise of snowboarding. Way back in the 1980s (before the Whistler-Blackcomb merger) Blackcomb Mountain was the first ski resort in British Columbia to allow snowboarding, and since then our local mountains have provided the venue for countless iconic moments, faces, and features in the history of snowboarding. From the Blackcomb Windlip, to Camp of Champions, the Westbeach Classic, and far too many pro riders, photos and film segments to name, our resort has played an integral role in the development of the sport.

In just a few decades snowboarding has gone from near-banishment from ski resorts to the very core of the mainstream skiing and action sports industries. Athletes have accomplished some remarkable feats, tons of money has been made, and the act of sliding on snow has been changed forever. But at what cost? Snowboarding started out as pure, youthful rebellion. Has the push for growth and progression sucked the soul from the sport? Come find out at this candid and compelling discussion featuring passionate, long-time snowboard industry insiders and influencers.

Snowboarding has progressed incredibly over the years, but has it gotten any better? Long-time Whistler pro rider Oliver Roy, late 1990s. Photo: Greg Griffith/Whistler Museum Archives.

Snowboarding has progressed incredibly over the years, but has it gotten any better? Long-time Whistler pro rider Oliver Roy, late 1990s. Photo: Greg Griffith/Whistler Museum Archives.

We are excited to announce our next Whistler Debates event, this time partnering with the World Ski & Snowboard Festival. Monday, April 15th at 5pm at the Whistler Museum we will be debating “Has the Snowboard Industry Sold Out?”

Our lineup features:

Brian Hockenstein: Snowboard photographer, cinematographer videographer and publisher Brian Hockenstein, whose images have been turning heads inside and outside the industry for years. He recently become even more enmeshed in the industry through the launch of his highly successful online snowboard website 33mag.com.

Dave Rouleau: Rouleau spent his twenties exploring the limits of life though snowboarding, film, the arts, web media and being a sponsored snowboarder. He claims that sustainability for snowboarding as a sport, art form and lifestyle lies not in “destroying it’ but CREATING IT, not in ‘killing it’, but rather LIVING IT! 

Graham Turner: Graham has been snowboarding longer than you, and has worked for W-B as a retail manager/buyer for almost as long. If this doesn’t convince you of his OG snowboarder cred, well, you know all those retro snowboards on display at Merlin’s. Those are his.

Mystery Debater X: Details to come…

***

When: Monday April 15th, 5-7pm

Where: Whistler Museum
Tickets: $7, available at the WSSF ticket booth, or the Whistler Museum. Spots are limited.
Other: 19+ (cash bar)
Visit whistlermuseum.org or WSSF.com for more details.

***

About Whistler Debates: Whistlerites self-identify as informed, opinionated, and outspoken. We’re going to put this assumption to the test. Inspired by the Doha Debates, our aim is to provide a forum for respectful, informed dialogue on wide-ranging topics of local or general interest. Debates will take place year-round and coincide with ongoing festivals and events. All debates will feature a strong audience participation component, so come armed with an opinion, an open mind, and a desire to engage with some of the most pressing topics of our times.