Competitors hike for the Coldsmoke slopestyle

Celebration of powder proportions

The Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival is arriving at Whitewater Ski Resort once again, Feb. 24-26.

The Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival is arriving at Whitewater Ski Resort once again this year where experienced and beginner backcountry skiers and snowboarders can gather in celebration together.

“It’s just a fun celebration of powder and what skiing, snowboarding and backcountry is all about,” said Anne Pigeon, general manager of indoor operations for Whitewater Ski Resort.

The event will run from February 24-26 and allows for skiers and snowboarders to learn, compete and celebrate.

“Clinics are our main focus, we bring in some pretty big name athletes to do the clinics and share their knowledge both in and out of bounds,” said Pigeon.

Some of the athletes involved in the clinics include freeskiing pioneer Eric Pehota, world champion freeskier Alison Gannet, and Greg Hill, who in 2010 climbed and skied two million vertical feet.

“It’s about skill advancement at a higher level that you might not get on a normal lesson,” said Pigeon.

Clinics range from beginner to experienced, in bounds and out of bounds, for free heel, fixed heel and board riders.

Pigeon said that another big component of the weekend is the Coldsmoke Demo Village.

“It’s where we’ve got representatives coming in from Rossignol, Surface Skis, we’ve got the local shops, ROAM, Sacred Ride, Village Ski Hut and Gericks Cycle and Sport all going up and doing ski and equipment demos,” she said.

This year there will be four competitions throughout the weekend. The ROAM Randonnee Rally — a ski mountaineering race, the Valhalla Pure Powderkeg Slopestyle, a Poker Run and Backcountry Olympics, a new addition for this year.

“It’s really an event to take in and just really participate in because the sponsors are so generous and there’s so much stuff that we’re going to give out… but in order to qualify for any of that you have to participate,” said Pigeon.

The third aspect to the weekend is the social events on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The Coldsmoke opener on Friday evening will feature a video and multimedia presentations.

Pigeon said it’s something that hasn’t been done there before. The evening will feature local artists’ films, but will also allow for them to share the story behind what they did.

“Saturday night is going to be a ton of fun, we’re going to go right from skiing into the evening activity,” said Pigeon.

“We’ve got entertainment lined up for the whole evening, we’ll have fire dancers, music, slideshows and Lucas Myers will be making an appearance, as will the local burlesque girls… the buffet prepared by our chefs at Fresh Tracks will be delicious.”

Pigeon said there will also be all sorts of prizes given away that night such as catskiing trips, skis and much more.

“It makes it well worth the effort to get up there for it, but people need to get tickets for the [Saturday night after party] in advance,” said Pigeon.

Tickets cost $55 and only 175 will be sold.

The annual event draws participants from well outside the area.

“We have registrations coming in from right across BC, the Washington area and as far as California,” said Pigeon.

To register for clinics, buy tickets and learn more about the event, visit coldsmokepowderfest.com.

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