FRESH TRACKS – December 15, 2023

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Fresh Tracks at Whistler Mountain’s new Fitzsimmons Express 8 opened this week.
Whistler Mountain’s new Fitzsimmons Express 8 opened this week.

Photos: © Freeride World Tour / DDAHER

As we slide toward the holiday season we’ll keep things airy this week, focussing on light ski news and loads of nonsense, including a ski nude fest, a ski-thru McDonald’s and a new haute-fashion ski game by Balenciaga. Here we go:


Whistlerites were desperately doing the math in lift lines this week trying to configure themselves to load the new Fitzsimmons Express, an eight-person chair on Whistler Mountain. The lift “will significantly reduce wait times in Whistler Village and improve efficiency,” assures Vail Resorts, but assembling skiers into eight-person formations requires fighter-pilot skill. The December 12 opening included a welcome by Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) ambassadors to shared unceded territories. It was followed by a cedar rope drop and the ringing of the Doppelmayr Bell. At the top, riders were greeted by an alphornist. In the Squamish language, the Fitz lift is known as Sḵwexwnách which means Valley Creek. In the Lil’wat language, Tsíqten translates to Fish Spear.


Women and femmes are invited to ski nude this winter at Colorado’s Boot Tan Fest. From March 29-30, 2024 at Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs, thousands are expected to migrate to “the world’s largest ski and snowboard fest designed for women and femme folks.” Now in its third year, the Boot Tan Fest includes winter camping, skinning, night skiing, tailgate parties, journaling, shopping and yes, “ski naked laps”—sorry, no photos here.   

Photos: © Freeride World Tour / DDAHER


For a behind-the-scenes look into the effort it takes to run a freeride event, see the Freeride World Tour’s new online film, What the FWT. The Ken Burns-style doc promises viewers “the unseen part of the story, from an intimate look at riders’ emotions to the logistical mountain the crew needs to climb at each event.” It debuted December 13. 2023.


If you find yourself hungry while skiing in Sweden this winter, hit the ski-thru at Lindvallen, a resort in the Baltics with McDonald’s only on-hill McSki. Everything we expect from McDonald’s is under the frigid golden arches, including digital screens for ordering, and outdoor posts to perch your helmet while you chew McNuggets and fries. 


New out of Chicoutimi: the world’s first stand-up snowmobile. The Widescape WS250 allows the rider to lean-in to every turn. “Our mission,” says the Saguenay company “is to bring a more active, more accessible and more immersive outdoor experience to winter powersports.” The WS250 retails for about $8,000. Plus, it’s compact, weighing only 200 pounds.


And now for the completely ridiculous: high-brow fashion brand Balenciaga has launched a phone-friendly online ski game to spread the word on its new winter sports line. Sign up, select an outfit, and race the gates. Editor’s Note: We’ve been racing gates for a lifetime and still, by the first gate in this game we’d crashed and burned. GAME OVER! Oh, and check your Visa limit before you get too racy with this haute ski-fashion line. A Balenciaga ski puffy costs $4,350… yes, you read that right. The game is cheaper, it’s free to play  here.

Ski Canada Staff
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