Miss Whistler marks eight years of sassy mountain style

Contestants will vie for the crown and cash prizes at the 8th annual beauty pageant

While most beauty pageants often boast a fragile, gaunt ream of contestants who look like they'd be blown over by a stiff breeze, the Miss Whistler contest is in search of a more rugged, athletic mountain beauty.

Taking place at Tommy Africa's nightclub on Friday (Sept. 6) the 8th annual Miss Whistler pageant will be sure to display a varied string of bikini-clad contestants who offer brains along with beauty.

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Shannen Carlson, manager of the event and marketing assistant for Tommy Africa's, is excited for the new crop of potential winners and has seen the event evolve over its existence.

"It's been going for almost eight years and we take a lot of pride in it," Carlson said. "Typically, we run it at the end of the summer and it's one of our more popular events. It's notably one of the bigger bikini-type pageants that we have in Whistler every year, but there's a spin on it because it's not just a bikini contest. We are in a search for Miss Whistler, so not only does she have to show off that she's beautiful and athletic, but we also ask a trivia question about Whistler."

The most recent Miss Whistler, Sherry Hunt, will be present and passing on the title, crowning the winner with a $500 cash reward, second place with $300, and third with $200.All contestants will have to sexily strut the catwalk in two different outfits. The first outfit will have to revolve around a ski bunny or winter-wear theme, and the second outfit will be a personal choice of either a bikini or lingerie.

Carlson sees the importance of judging in the competition as crucial, as contestants will have to run the gamut of criteria."The judging criteria is based on a few things," she added. "It's based on answering a general trivia question about Whistler, beauty and stage presence, and audience feedback. If the girl can't answer the question, she is obviously not the winner. The audience really holds on that point."Promising to be an eye-popping evening, the event will also feature live music from DJ Fidel Cashflow and DJ Turtle.

Excited about the various prizes, Carlson sees the importance of presenting potential models with many opportunities through the contest.

"We have $1,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs," she said. "One of the main prizes is a photoshoot with Erich Saide Photography and as I run the local (Whistler Exposed) bikini calendar in town, we have offered prizes where Miss Whistler will gain a spot in the calendar. It's a good way to see all of fresh talent that is in town and to showcase girls that have an interest in modeling."

Although anyone can apply to be a contestant, Carlson claims that being from Whistler will definitely help the cause of any potential podium-climber.

"We say that anybody can enter the contest but really, Miss Whistler should be a woman that resides in Whistler," she said."She should also be popular in the town and audience applause is a also a big factor. She should encompass how long she has been in town and where she works in town and why she could be Miss Whistler. Does she ski? Does she snowboard? These are all important components and they are all on the judging sheet."

After working as a cheerleader in the CFL and working in various avenues of marketing, Carlson began to see the opportunity for a Miss Whistler-type event many years ago.

"I worked for a marketing a promotional company in Vancouver for many years and we hosted an event called Canadian Swimwear Model of the year," she said.

"And we had done that at Tommy Africa's and there was so much positive feedback from that and we wanted to really go after the Miss Whistler bikini contest."

After finally settling in the Whistler area and leaving her hometown of Winnipeg, Carlson's desire to create Miss Whistler also translated to the Mr. Whistler event.

With Whistler being a highly athletic community, Braden Dean, winner of the Mr. Whistler contest, had his chances of winning increased by being a serious powder lover and thrill-seeker.

"Any contestant who is involved with the Whistler community in any way will find that to be a huge asset," she said.

"(Braden) is a basejumper and a professional athlete and snowboarder and he's lived in town for x amount of years and he encapsulates all of the qualities that would make him Mr. Whistler. So that's we are looking for - an outdoors girl who is beautiful and confident and fun. Whistler is a bit of a party town and so she needs to party all night and ride all day."

Miss Whistler starts at 9 p.m Friday at Tommy Africa's and there is no admission charge for the event.

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