Canada doesn’t have an equivalent to the American Black Friday, the Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas shopping bonanza that is usually accompanied by stories of people being trampled in pursuit of electronics and the latest Furbies.
The annual Whistler Blackcomb Turkey Sale — now with actual turkeys — is probably one of the closest comparisons we have north of the border, although without all the trampling. For four days, Oct. 11 to 14, the Blackcomb Daylodge converts into a 20,000-square-foot shopping centre with deals up to 70 per cent off all kinds of ski and snowboard gear. Not to be left out, other merchants in the village have embraced the theme and offer their own sales over the weekend, filling every conceivable need for the upcoming winter season.
It’s a way to clear out last year’s stock and make room for next year’s gear, get people excited for winter, maybe fill a few beds on a long weekend when the weather’s usually not great and even to raise some money for the community’s food bank.
“The scale of this year’s Turkey Sale is enormous,” said Josh Buchanan, merchandising manager of retail operations for Whistler Blackcomb. “Last year we experienced amazing traffic as people converged from all over Sea to Sky, Metro Vancouver and abroad. This year we are hoping for the same attendance as we get ready for one of Whistler’s busiest weekends.”
Turkeys for sale
For the second year, Whistler Blackcomb will be selling frozen turkeys as well as winter gear, starting on Saturday (Oct. 12) at 9 a.m. until all of them are gone. It won’t take long — last year the festival sold all 100 birds in a few hours, donating the $1,000 in proceeds to the Whistler Food Bank. Turkeys will sell for $15 this year, again with the proceeds going towards the Food Bank.
iF3 Film Festival
The International Freeski Film Festival, which started in Montreal, is also stopping in Whistler this year with a full slate of ski and snowboard movies. The event is presented by Whistler Blackcomb in collaboration with Red Bull and K2.
The festival runs two days, Oct. 11 and 12, and features two big parties — the Orage Pre-Party from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at McCoo’s Too on Friday, the Absolut Vodka Retro Ski Party from 10 p.m. on Friday ($10 at the Longhorn Saloon) and the Red Bull/K2 Sean Pettit Rocker Party on Saturday night at 10 p.m. ($10 at Garfinkel’s) — plus four film-presentation sessions lasting around two hours.
All of the film screenings are at Millennium Place with admission of $17, and passes are available for all four sessions.
“Presentation 01” is Friday from 8 to 9:30 p.m. and features Into The Mind by Whistler’s own Sherpas Cinemas.
Presentation 02 is on Saturday from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m and features 4 Minutes at Momentum (Momentum Productions), Let’s Go Get Small (Norseman Productions), Valhalla (Sweetgrass Productions) and Mutiny (Stept Productions).
Presentation 03 is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and features The Burn (Switchback Entertainment), The LOSt (Legs of Steel) and Tracing Skylines (Poor Boyz Productions).
Presentation 04 is from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and features Ski Opera (Bon Appetit Freesky Blog), Supervention (Field Productions) and Partly Cloudy (Level 1 Productions).
For more on the films and tickets, visit whistler.if3.ca.
WMSC Ski Swap
The Whistler Mountain Ski Club has launched the careers of countless skiers over the years, and with the creation of dedicated ski training facilities on Whistler Mountain — the Dave Murray National Training Centre — is poised for even bigger things.
To help the club keep costs down for skiers and be able to offer its skiers better coaching and training opportunities — such as the recent camp they hosted in La Parva, Chile, with 22 athletes aged 15 to 19 — the club hosts two big fundraisers a year. A gala dinner in Vancouver and the annual WMSC Turkey Sale Ski Swap.
“This is our bread-and-butter fundraising event,” said Whistler Mountain Ski Club executive director Nigel Loring. “Even more important, it connects us to the community and engages skiers and snowboarders outside of our immediate family in the club.”
Loring said the event raises about 10 per cent of the WMSC’s annual budget, and is used to keep registration and athlete costs down for families. He’s hoping that the weather forecast holds because swaps are busier when the sun is out. Plus, having the snow in the alpine in Whistler and Vancouver is also good for business.
“People are already getting excited for the season,” said Loring. “We’re getting a lot of calls at the ski club, our registration is up, and I think we’ll have a strong swap and great season.”
The swap accepts new and used skis for resale, preferably no older than two years or in very good condition. No clothing, poles or unmounted bindings are accepted.
Check-in starts at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 and continues through 9 p.m., and you can still bring goods from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The cost to sell an item through the swap is $3 per item at check in, plus 20 per cent of the sale price.
The swap runs from 5 p.m. on Friday until 1 p.m. on Sunday. Unsold items must be picked up between 1 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday, at which point the item is considered a donation. Those items will be sold in a blow-out sale from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Money from sold gear can be picked up from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday as well.
As well as the swap, various retailers also host tents under the main tent. Tents are open from 5 p.m. on Friday until 3 p.m. on Sunday, and during Swap hours — 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.