This post lies near and dear to my heart. These are pictures that I captured at the Snowdance Festival of Music + Winter.
When I'm not behind the lens of my camera, I help my family run a charming little ski resort in Manitoba's Whiteshell Provincial Park. We rent out cabins (Falcon Trails Resort), and even have a little ski hill on site (Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes). One of my favourite parts of the whole Falcon Ridge/ Falcon Trails story is the incredible community of artists and musicians that are a part of the resort identity and experience. I am so thankful for our connections to such a large community of incredible talent, and to all that this talent contributes to the business in the form of live music, art around the resort, brand imagery, and the incredibly interesting characters that help us make the public experience something so special and stand out.
While this theme of artistic flair is largely present at all times at the resort, I see Snowdance as the real celebration and showcase of our in-house talent. The birth of the festival came about 7 years ago during a very bad snow season at the ski slopes, Our pal Lyndon wrote a GREAT story about the genesis of the festival, which I encourage you read (click here), but in short, we had a staff full of musicians with no work because there was no snow to ski on, so we decided we could at least play music and get people out to the hill for that. It was a huge success, and so much fun and so we've continued doing it every year since.
The festival has grown from a one day party at the ski slopes to a full weekend with music happening at the local community club and the local dive bar at the Falcon Lake Resort Hotel, and features an eclectic array of music from roots and folk to pop and psychedelic surf music, and sorts of silly outdoor fun including hockey, curling, skijoring (horse and dog), skiing (alpine and nordic, if you can tell the difference), ski racing, a turkey shoot (curling with a frozen turkey) and the annual polar bear dip and sauna to wrap the weekend up.
The secret is really getting out, and we've been very honoured to have such great support from festival goers. Our biggest struggle with the festival these days has been finding enough space for everyone who wants to come. Not an easy feat in a tiny little summer resort town with a population of 400 which all but shuts down in the winter. This year we made tickets available online and they sold out, astonishingly, in under 3 minutes (that was with a cap of 4 tickets per person!). But one way that we have been able to expand is by adding the extra nights and extra venues to the festival. On Friday night, we are hosted by the Falcon Lake curling club. Last year we ran a mini-curling bonspiel, and this year it was a hockey tournament while live music happened upstairs at the community club. We've been very lucky that the local Falcon Lake Resort Hotel has opened its doors to us, and put up with all our wacky shenanigans, which solves a large part of the accomodation problem and provides venu for our fabulous Saturday night party. Plus festival goers seem to appreciate the surreal Coen-brothers setting-esque charm of the hotel, not to mention that pool! We really appreciate how this has allowed us to expand out into the greater Falcon Lake community, both providing the opportunity to include more locals to participate, and as a way to introduce our sweet little town to festival goers who come in from away.
Anyways, that's just a bit of background to help you understand how special this weekend is, and what the heck is going on in these pictures.
So much love to all who have supported Snowdance. I can't wait for next year.
Everyone pitched in to get things set up for the festival, including decoration of the community club by Jak, Robyn, Lauren and Tosh, the building of the Igloo ice bar by Ian from Shield Outfitters, Ryan the groomer, the tube shack boys, and Clara. There was gorgeous mural work in the brand new renovated bathrooms by Remi LeBouthillier (Young Jim) and Seth Heinrichs, and a countless amount of admin and box office set up by Caleigh.
We kicked off Friday night at the community club with our first ever Snowdance Hockey Tourney, while music played in the upstairs venue of the club. Featuring Richard Inman, Blond(e) Goth, and our hometown heros, The Heinrichs Maneuver. The afterparty happened at the Falcon Lake hotel where Lyndon hosted "Lyndon's Karaoke Palace". Unfortunately I didn't have my camera out for that, but it was as ridiculous and fun as it sounds.
The party moved over to the ski slopes on Saturday day, with music playing in the chalet straight through the day: Nana, Joe Madden, Evrytt Willow, Matt Foster, Juvel, Micah Erenberg, Kakagi. Outside people enjoyed Ryan the Groomer's "Around the Ridge" ski race, skijoring with the Falcon Beach Ranch, the Igloo bar, free tea and bannock at the Whiteshell Trapper's tent, and a base 12 workshop with Lyndon Froese (learn more about that here). Once it got dark we turned on the lights and fired up the tubing lift for some night tubing.
Saturday Night at the Last Resort
The party started back up over at the Falcon Lake hotel (affectionately known as "the last resort"), The night was hosted by our friend, the incomparable Chloe Chafe of Synonym Art Consultation and the audience was treated to a lineup of all powerhouse women led acts: Selci, Atlaas, Sheena band, and DJ Chloesupreme. It was absolutely incredible and knocked everyone off their feet, into the dance floor. Unfortunately I forgot my camera and had to run and grab it, so missed getting shots of Selci (although Jordan got some great ones, you can see his photos on facebook at this link here.).
Sunday at the Ski Slopes
And so Snowdance floated through Sunday in a hazy and dreamlike state after a weekend of beautiful souls, friends, superb music, all the winter outdoor fun you can imagine, and all the small town charm Falcon Lake could muster up. Music was kicked off with our annual Sunday Morning Spiritual music workshop, hosted by Sheena (where even Benjamin Hadaller, all the way from the west coast graced the stage for a couple songs!), followed by beautiful beautiful sets of music by Red Moon Road, Slow Spirit and Slow leaves. Outside we had skijoring (behind dogs this time) with the Snow-motion skijoring club, our annual turkey shoot (curling with a turkey, closest to the button takes the bird home for dinner), and the annual sauna and polar bear dip into frozen Falcon Lake to wrap it all up. Special mention goes to Grant of Slow Leaves for convincing his whole family to take part in the dip, including his 12 year old son. Badass family alert!
And thus concluded what is for me, the most magical weekends of the year. I encourage you to head over to the Snowdance website for more information about the festival. Be sure to sign up to the Falcon Ridge mailing list (they are really good about not spamming your inbox) so you get first notice about when tickets go on sale for next year.