DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival 2010

It’s sunny and warm in Whistler today and the place is packed. I’ve been working on the Grenade Games all year and now we’re only a couple days away. I got into town Friday and within 15 minutes had an adult Monster bevy in hand and was getting settled. Danny and Dingo and the boys made it into town before me so we hooked up for some dinner, few more drinks and lots of stories and catching up. Being that I’m old, my liver wasn’t really keeping up and pretty soon I lost the battle. I found myself in Sushi Village (again) catching up with old friends and warming up with some sake. I think you see where this is going.

As the restaurant was closing I grabbed my coat and headed for the door, almost made it out too, but just then my friend
Gribbon dragged me back inside and a giant dumbo sized bottle was placed on the table. Don’t really recall how the rest of the night went but I spent Saturday a complete write-off watching Mantracker in the hotel room.

The Telus Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival is back my friends, and whether you’re celebrating a great winter or just happy it’s over, there is no better place to be this week than Whistler, British Columbia.

Tomorrow’s weather is looking a little grim but it should get better as the week goes on. Come on up and play.

I came up with this new thing

So last year at the Grenade Games we did a damn good job of showing everyone out in the snowboard industry how much fun we were having. It was a ton of work and by the end we were justifiably proud. In the months that followed, people emulated our strategy and even our style and I thought it was al very flattering. It also highlighted something that I thought was missing and that was interaction for all the people that couldn't make it to the event. Sure they could watch, but I wanted them to feel more involved.


To give the masses some control from far away, I decided to do something new. Partly based on the fact that every single day kids are uploading short videos that they've made from their local hills or from their trips, I decided to provide all of our raw clips from the Grenade Games every day and let people edit their own remixed version of our daily videos. Every day we'll highlight our favourite, or the funniest, or whatever, and at the end we'll award prizes from Grenade for the best video.

I decided to call it Remote Control, cuz you know, people get to have some control, from remote places...

Give it a look and tune in between the 20th and 25th of April to watch what happens.


Thanks very much

I need to say some thank you's before I move on from the Grenade Games stuff and get back to our regular programming.

This was a new stage in my career, I went from simply being a photographer covering events to running a team of people to cover GG5. Before it started none of us had worked as a team, so to have been as successful as we were was a testament to hard work and good luck combined with a bunch of solid groundwork.

Jay Vaillancourt built and maintained our site with little direction and a healthy dose of self motivation. Jay takes what you think about Web geeks and throws it out the window. He is straight metal and an intimidating looking dude, but don't be afraid, he rolls with the punches (and drunk dudes knocking on his door at 3AM) and keeps everything running. Couldn't have done it without him. Thank you.

Damon Pyett from Coastal Riders is a freak of nature. He brought together a crew of fimers who, if they walked into a meeting you might laugh out of the place, but then you'd be an idiot. Jeff Keenan, Matt Standish, and Mike Fikowski worked their asses off shooting pretty much around the clock to get our edits up faster than people could believe. We set out to raise the bar and we did because of these guys. Thank you.

In front of the camera and keeping busy behind the scenes as well, Joanna Majcherkiewicz, came into our team as a sort of floating media expert but quickly found her role. She was tireless, fearless, hilarious, and pro in the face of a daunting schedule and a generally crazy scene. I still can't pronounce her last name, but I sure know how to say thanks. Thank you.

Russell Dalby has been shooting events for Monster for a long time, but this time he truly upped his game. His shots from the Poker Final Table really stand out to me. The fact that he managed to stay mostly sober this whole week totally amazes me. Most of the photos you see on the web were taken by Russell and he deserves high praise. Thank you.

We also got some filming from Rob Picard although he wisely kept his distance from the mad media room most of the week. Thanks Rob.

The Canadian Monster team is the best group of people to work with in the game. They are patient, persistent and resilient. They also brought the soul back to an event that badly needed it. Anyone who doubts their commitment to making action sports a better place is way out of line. In it for the right reasons. Libby Everest is strength personified. She takes no shit, makes no excuses and is completely on point. Friend crush. Nelson Phillips is a visionary dude, make no mistake. He saw the writing on the wall for the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival and set out to do nothing short of remake it. Mission accomplished. Thank you for getting me involved.

Dave Phillips and Paul Rak are the boots on the ground and I often think that they work harder than anyone. They also play harder. Honorable mention goes to Brad Broughton who was right there with them almost every step of the way. So were Amy Huddle and Lindy Thomson who made sure so many things were taken care of, and always with a smile. Thank you all.

I'm really impressed with Danny Kass and Kevin Casillo from Grenade. They decided to take the Grenade Games bigger and international this year, and they trusted us to do it up right. They were nothing but gracious and grateful and it made dealing with them and fulfilling their vision really painless. I've worked with so many prima donna pro snowboarders before, and to deal with someone who is at the top of the game but still does it for all the right reasons is truly encouraging. Kevin is like some kind of soul mate from across the continent. Instant friends, intelligent conversations way into the night, awesome. As the week wore on and I got stuck in the media world more, I didn't get to spend as much time with them, but still, we had a great week.

I've saved the best for last. Nobody put in more hours or worked harder than Clayton Larsen from Sandbox. He is the amazing editor that put together all the videos. He brought good ideas and great technical skill to the table, did revisions quickly and without complaint, and worked just an unbelievable amount. You can see that he has gained a ton of experience in the Sandbox camp, and he's clearly unflappable. Clayton man, you get the biggest THANK YOU of the week.

Around this time last year I was writing this. The most important line of that was "Put the snowboard back into the "ski and snowboard festival". I challenge the organizers of the WSSF to make this festival into a legitimate part of the contest scene, and to bring us back some credibility, not just the hotel visits."

What do you have to say? Did we do it?

Joanna M and Damon. Can I get you some sunscreen Damon? Joanna M photo.
Dalby always looks like this in photos.
Biggest Canucks fan ever? Possibly. Nelson Phillips is the captain of the ship. Don't kiss any pigs in Mexico.
Radical dude. Just ask his ass. My favourite grenerd Kevin Casillo and me at Sushi Village.
Libby and Jay at Sushi Village. Jay is the man.
Friends. Libby and me at the skate jam
And this drink means it's over. Oh wait, Danny just bought a round of shots? Oh shit.

wrong, wrong, wrong.

disclaimer: it's 10 till 2 and I've just arrived home,

an email aimed me here, and what I found made me choke on my perrier as I tried to understand how anyone who knew anything about culture or the life of ANYONE under the age of 70 could, with a straight face, write this piece of shit*:

"Big Air
Riders and skiers are the new constellations, when they turn shooting stars and light up the night at the big-on-awe Big Air. Join the 15,000-strong star-gazing crowd, as the best pro skiers and riders launch overhead to the thumping beats of live music. The pros lay it all on the line to own the night sky."


As I grew up, I watched as the super successful Westbeach Contest, that filled empty Whistler beds every spring, was co-opted and became the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. I watched as the once respectable contest was taken over by new sponsors and became a backdrop for the expanded "cultural" events, and then diminished into a regional affair that drew more local media than international credibility, and I could see why. I knew that the future was worse, but this year just seems so, so much worse. As far as I can tell, the title sponsor of the halfpipe event is a vodka brand.


I wonder why the Ski and snowboard industry has run, not walked, away from this event.

Does anyone that is involved in the promotion of this event even ski or snowboard anymore? Did any of you actually grow up in the culture of the mountains? The WSSF has always been a marketing push to fill beds in the shoulder season, that's no secret or surprise. And there is nothing wrong with that, but at some point the success of the peripheral events overshadowed the reason we are all here in the first place, and the "festival" pissed on its roots in favour of a MTV/Mountain Dew/LCD spew fest that has little to do with anything but self perpetuation and narcissism.

I'm sick to death of the shitty shit. I'll say what every real snowboarder is thinking: Bring back the Westbeach Contest. Put the snowboard back into the "ski and snowboard festival". I challenge the organizers of the WSSF to make this festival into a legitimate part of the contest scene, and to bring us back some credibility, not just the hotel visits.

It's as simple as this: If the best snowboarders in the world aren't here for the contest next year, you've failed.

*ok so as bad as that was, the deeper I looked into the site, the worse the fucking generic, marketing buzzword, nothing-speak
got. Someone got paid a bunch of money to sound like they were young and hip. My guess is that they are either a) a 56 year old junior college drop-out who claims to be "still really down with the youth". b) Socially isolated, borderline personalities with anxiety disorders. c) Editors from Ski Magazine. d) all of the above