Credit: WSSF/Dave Humphreys

One of Whistler's most anticipated events officially opened today—the World Ski & Snowboard Festival.

Ski and snowboard competitions, fashion shows, concerts, art exhibits and legendary nightlife rule the mountain over the next week. If you need some coaxing, here are five reasons to head north on Highway 99:

1. Freestyle Competitions

Kicking off today and running through the weekend, Slopestyle, Gibbons Big Air, Halfpipe and Superhit competitions take to the slopes. Plus, there’s more:

“For the first time in three years we will have Men and Women’s Halfpipe as part of the WSI/AFP World Tour Finals,” says Sue Eckersley, Event Director for the World Ski & Snowboard Festival. “We are really excited to have all three ski disciplines back on the WSSF schedule for 2015.”

The WSI/AFP World Tour Finals will take place on Blackcomb Mountain from April 10 to 12, with Slopestyle scheduled for April 10, the Gibbons Big Air on April 11 and the Halfpipe and Superhit events on April 12. Since the Big Air comp will be held at Blackcomb Terrain Park, rather than being viewable live from Skier's Plaza as with previous years, the WSSF will host Gibbons Plazapalooza that night—featuring a big-screen replay of the Big Air event and more captivating entertainment (Skier’s Plaza; 8:00 p.m.; April 11). 

2. Mountain Arts

Delve into the avante garde. Artists will be on showcase throughout the week—check out a Graffiti Battle, State of the Art, Creation Station, Whistler Comedy Showdown and more. On April 15, Olympus 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown will see creatives vying for a $10K prize as they screen their mountain films. And the ever-popular Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown sees five of the world’s top outdoor photogs competing for another $10,000 cheque (showcase on April 16).

3. Concerts

Swollen Members and MSTRKRFT are just two of the many, many acts set to perform… talent ranges from DJs to singer-songwriter to hip-hop. And many are free—head to the Free Outdoor Concert Series at Skier’s Plaza from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day to rock out in the shadow of Whistler.

4. Out all Night

There’s a saying in Whistler this time of year. “Party in April. Sleep in May.” If you’ve attended the WSSF before, you know what it means. Every single night of the event, bars, pubs and clubs are raucous ‘til the morning hours. The tough parts? Choosing your venue and getting up to ski the next day.

5. It’s Whistler/Blackcomb

Too many of BC’s south-coast ski resorts were decimated by winter’s snow-dearth this year. Whistler and Blackcomb, however, are open for business—you can take your competition inspiration to the slopes and shred some spring corn. Ticket rates are at their lowest and the snow is fresh right to the peak.

For more:

See Our Insider's Guide HERE & HERE & HERE & HERE.