Dec. 30, 2009 - Issue #741: 10
Celebration: ‘Tis the season
Embracing aprÃ¨s ski in an urban setting
If it sounds a little ridiculous, that's the point. Crash matting is just one of many improvised après ski activities that have arisen out of the exuberance of a great day's riding. When it's followed up with upbeat, live music and a room full of goggle tans in a warm, but not too warm, locale, what results is a quintessential Canadian experience.
Call it what you want, our culture is entrenched in this cycle—winter sport followed by celebration and some form of art or wild antics. Those of us who grew up dressed like the Michelin Man on skis and flopping in the snow see child-like opportunity, not cold desolation, in every falling snowflake.
This is precisely what festival organizers had in mind when they masterminded Winter Light 2010, a celebration of winter recreation and culture in Edmonton. "We wanted to introduce what's viewed as mountain culture to our urban landscape," says Matthew Decor, Winter Light's recreational director, emphasizing the natural pairing of winter recreation and culture in the city.
In testament to this cross-pollination, the Winter Light team plans to pair professional photographers with freestyle skiers to capture the mid-air creativity inherent in the art of freestyle. "The combination of professional and recreational skiers and photographers and artists at this event (Illuminations) shows the newcomers and up-and-comers the full extent of where the sport is going," notes Decor. "It instils positive winter experiences and associations."
Freestyle skiing and a GT racing track, music, winter art, visions of light and fire, storytelling and performance: Decor and his team have nailed the elements of a legendary snow party and shaped it for our urban snowscape. What's not to celebrate?
So, enough with the endless grumbling and depressing Facebook statuses. Whether or not you're attending or hosting a snow party, plan to incorporate one of the eight Winter Light events into your night. Festivities commence at the Mispon Gala on January 6 and close with Illuminations on March 12. All events are free and completely sustainable, with legitimate toboggans on hand. V
If you're not enjoying it live, don't get cozy with your choices. You've just come off the slopes after a full day. Keep up the momentum with high-energy tunes.
Arts, crafts and activities
Use tiki torches or LED lights to provide visibility and atmosphere for outdoor activities. For the more talented, try snow sculpture. Involve guests in building a snow castle or a mini ski-jump. Have some sports gear, shovels or a stockpile of snowballs handy and then just let things take their natural course.
Break out your old Sun Ice one-piecer or fitted, fluorescent bell-bottom snow pants. Outdated snow apparel is even more humorous than ugly Christmas sweaters.
Guests of honour
Make that friend with the season-ending injury a guest of honour and have him or her tell the always epic story to newcomers.
Share the warmth
There's nothing like a good cause to warm the spirits, or the body as the case may be. Share the Warmth (winterlight.ca/joomla/resources/share-warmth.html) is Winter Light's charitable initiative to provide winter wear for those in need. Invite guests to bring some of their old gear and then drop it off at the collection box at a Winter Light event. V
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