Chevy Road Trip to the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) 2011

2011 Chevy Road Trip to the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF)

Story & Snaps: Amee Reehal ©

Celebrating it's Sweet Sixteen this year, the 2011 TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) recently wrapped up in Whistler. Running from April 15 - 24, 2011, the WSSF celebrates all things snow, sports, art, culture, fashion, and music. This year, falling on the Easter Long Weekend coupled with the last weekend for the Whistler Mountain ski season (Blackcomb Mountain closes May 30), rendered a bustling Whistler village, home to a festival that saw all walks of life, from large European families to young suburban hipsters to single Vancouverites in high heels and mini skirts. A huge festival with a great vibe and something for everyone.

Once again, Chevrolet Canada was a leading sponsor of the WSSF. My man George Saratlic, Product Communications Manager at GM of Canada, asked if I'd be interested in going again this year. With a resounding 'yes,' found myself and fellow auto writer Russ Purcell, planted in a 2011 Chevy Camaro SS convertible as we set off to The Fairmont Chateau Whistler for a couple nights stay, where we'd hook up with a pair of other bloggers.

I attended the TWSSF with Chevrolet Canada last year as well, my first time in Whistler. And stoked to do it all again in 2011. Check out my blog post from last year's event here > Amee @ WSSF 2010

2011 marks the first year the new Chevy Camaro comes in the soft-top form. Fortunately, the weather from Vancouver to Whistler the Friday afternoon we departed was sunny, thus, top down the entire way. The 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible is available in a either a 3.6L V6 producing 312-hp, or the 6.2L V8 (also found in the Corvette) making 400-hp with the automatic tranny (426-hp with the stick shift). We had the V8, of course.

For more info on the 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible, visit here.

Below: Russ and myself at the helm:

Saturday morning kicked off with breakfast at the hotel with George and Jennifer Tice, PR Manager at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler:

While the other bloggers & tweeters attended the Chevy Test Drive Tweetup at the Whistler Conference Centre, yours truly opted for a day on the mountain. Hey, this would be my last, proper boarding day of the season and my first time hitting the infamous slopes of Whistler Blackcomb. And I'm glad I did, because spring skiing/boarding means one thing: Slush Cup. Hooking up for a quick run with Amber Turnau, part of the Whistler Blackcomb PR team, Amber led me to the slush cup taking place halfway up Blackcomb Mountain. While the slush cup is nothing new to these parts, 2011 was the first year sponsored by the WSSF. The gathering was overwhelming, the weather was just perfect, and the jumps were hilarious.

Some of the slushy shenanigans:

In addition to GM's Chevy title sponsorship in the WSSF, the automaker also sponsors the GMC Race Centre located on Cougar Milk on Blackcomb Mountain…a free, dual Giant Slalom course open to the public (yes, this is just a sign):

A not-so-terrific shot from my Blackberry camera, but a beautiful scene nonetheless:

Couple other randoms with my little Canon sole camera for the trip:

Our Chevy Road Trip to the WSSF ended off with a few drinks, the Big Air competition with the winner taking home a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze (AJAC's 2011 Canadian Car of the Year), and on my stroll back to the hotel through Whistler Village, a thumping crowd at the Chevy DJ booth with a little fireworks action in the background. A great trip with the perfect ending.

Event > 2010 Camaro-SS to the Telus WSSF in Whistler

Chevy CamaroSS road trip to the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival Story & Snaps: Amee Reehal©

  • Wrapping up its 15th year, Whistler, B.C., once again, played host to the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF)—North America’s largest annual gathering of winter sports, music, arts and culture. For ten days, April 16 – 25 this year, the WSSF offers the public a plethora of events and activities throughout the day, all week long. From the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown and the 72hr. Filmmaker Showdown Second Cuts Screening to the World Skiing Invitational and the Schick Fashion Exposed fashion show, just to name a few.
  • George Saratlic, with Product Communications at GM Canada, mentioned this vague idea to me a few weeks, regarding the festival, the Chevy sponsorship and a way to expose it to various media; inviting some prominent Vancouver-based bloggers/social media folk along with some auto journalists to cover the event. I was all over the idea, and a few weeks later, George made it happen, finding myself, along with fellow journalist Russell Purcell, tearing up the Sea To Sky Highway departing Vancouver enroute to Whistler in our 2010 CamaroSS:

  • Along the way, we stopped by this joint in Squamish called Grilled Fromage, owned by this crazy, ex-Calgarian dude named Colin Bush, who serves up 57 different types of grilled cheese sandwiches. Of course, the place is adorned with ‘cheesy’ fixtures throughout:

...Colin takes these old Bob Ross type paintings and adds a little something extra to them. I tried to buy this 'General Lee hurdling a mountain river' painting from him, but he wouldn't part with it:

  • Chevrolet Canada, one of six main sponsors at the WSSF, arguably had the strongest presence and visibility, securing a stellar cul-de-sac locale within Whistler Village, enjoying consistent traffic. The setup included the Chevrolet Stage with live bands throughout the day, various Chevy vehicles on display with public access, Chevy tent offering promos and information, and a cool installment where local artists used the Camaro hood as their canvas. Chevrolet on Scene was also on deck, a crew of social media insiders covering the event from all angles.

PHOTO BELOW: Russell snapping a shot of the Chevy Girls with GM sponspored John Kucera, memeber of the Canadian Alphine Ski Team:

  • Just outside the Village, Chevrolet gave the public an opportunity to test their products on the open road, including the 2010 CamaroSS and the  2010 Tahoe Hybrid:

PHOTO BELOW (from L to R): Fred Lantenschlager, GM Sponsorship & Auto Show Manager; Russell Purcell, auto journalist; Myself; and Janice Avon, with MacLaren Momentum agency in Vancouver handling GM Sponsorhips programs, including the Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey initiatve and the GMC Cup, to name a couple:

PHOTO BELOW (L to R): few bloggers also on the trip: John BollwittRebecca Bollwitt, aka Miss604, and John Biehler, all big in the social media/technology space:

  • Here, our blogger folks tweetin' it up during lunch, relaying the Chevy Road Trip and WSSF experience out to the masses...myself, I'm debating the Twitter thing, still on the fence but we'll see:

  • The Whistler Conference Centre was home to State of the Art, an exhibition of gritty, urban art…I caught the tail end as they were tearing down, but managed to snap some cool pieces:

  • We missed the Schick Fashion Exposed fashion show, unfortunatley, but blogger John Beilher was there and took a few shots:

  • Misc. photos around Whistler Village, capturing the vibe of the WSSF:

  • Overall, the entire WSSF event was awesome, the CamaroSS was unreal (a full review in the coming months), my blind date for the weekend with Russell Purcell was delighful, and Chevrolet's tie-in with the WSSF, replacing the outgoing Pontiac brand, is a brilliant one; and one that will certainly make a positive impact.  Hopefully, I'll make it out again for 2011...but this time, I'm bringing my snowboard!