Note: This first appeared on wssf.com on March 23, 2017.

By: Amber Turnau (a.k.a. Slamber Gently)

Whistler is home to every adrenaline-fueled adventure imaginable, but sometimes it’s the unexpected sports that surprise you the most. Enter roller derby: the high intensity, hard hitting, fastest growing women’s sport in the world.

Return of the Jam…And a New Hope

For the fifth year in a row, the roller skate reigns supreme at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival as Whistler plays host to its annual invitational roller derby bout. “Scar Wars” storms the Whistler Conference Centre April 8, bringing with it a powerful force that is guaranteed to bring fans to the derby side. And yes, there’s even a Princess Slayah.

This year, the Sea To Sky Apex Pistols (a team comprised of top Squamish and Whistler women’s players) will take on Vancouver’s Smokin’ Laces. For the first time ever, this will be followed by a men’s grudge match between the Vancouver Murder and the Puget Sound Outcasts – both in the Top 10 rankings of the Men’s Roller Derby Association.

What could possibly be better than derby, beer and Star Wars-themed revelry?

The annual WSSF invitational is a favourite among the roller derby community and fans alike. It’s arguably one of the last high production derby bouts left in Canada as the evolution of the sport worldwide has lead to a stronger emphasis on the athletic aspects of the game, rather than the spectacle of it all.

Sea to Sky’s Derby Roots Run Deep

Roller derby has a long history in the Sea to Sky Corridor. It all kicked off with Squamish’s Sea to Sky Sirens nine years ago, followed by Whistler’s own Black Diamond Betties in 2011. Like many start up teams across the globe, the Betties started their foray into roller derby in covered parking garages and tennis courts around town. The struggle was real. No coach, no practice venue, and no previous roller derby experience. Just a few pairs of beat up second-hand skates, a fascination for the sport, and a dream that one day, they would be playing for the home crowd. It seemed so far off.

But, flash forward a few years and the scrappy Whistler start-up soon turned into a force to be reckoned with. They fundraised hard, purchased a special sport court and campaigned tirelessly to host their home bout at WSSF. To this day, a number of the team’s OGs remain, having transformed over the years from “Bambis on skates” to seasoned powerhouses with fancy footwork, solid hits and impressive agility.

The Sirens and Betties have deep roots together and have skated on the same track countless times – sometimes as rivals and sometimes as teammates. In fact, a number of Betties are also card-carrying Sirens too. They’re affectionately known as the Sirens of the North.

The Apex Pistols might be all jokes and smiles as they skate out in sequins and costume, but this team is stacked with veteran talent –  and a few up and comers too.

Fierce Warrior Women

It’s not only the mountains that bind this group of strong, fearless women together– it’s resiliency too. They are moms, artists, fashionistas, scientists, taxi drivers, social workers, waitresses, marketers, photographers, baristas and massage therapists by day. By night, they’re fierce warrior women.

The Sirens and Betties have deep roots together and have skated on the same track countless times – sometimes as rivals and sometimes as teammates. In fact, a number of Betties are also card-carrying Sirens too. They’re affectionately known as the Sirens of the North.The Apex Pistols might be all jokes and smiles as they skate out in sequins and costume, but this team is stacked with veteran talent –  and a few up and comers too.

Fierce Warrior Women

It’s not only the mountains that bind this group of strong, fearless women together– it’s resiliency too. They are moms, artists, fashionistas, scientists, taxi drivers, social workers, waitresses, marketers, photographers, baristas and massage therapists by day. By night, they’re fierce warrior women.