80s-themed parties, ski chalet get-togethers, and drug-fueled raves are nothing new. But an event that combines all three under one roof is something you've never heard of before—at least that's what Whistler, British Columbia DJs Tim Livingstone and Dave "Canosis" Rollie are betting on. Their shows are uniquely Canadian, combining the energy of a warehouse rave with some cold-weather grit to create an experience where ski goggles are more plentiful than crop tops, and the ambiance is dictated more by snow machines than laser beams. Yet if you can get past the gimmick, you may find yourself actually liking the music repped by the electronic duo called (surprise, surprise) Skiitour.
"It's like a Whistler party everywhere we play," smiled Livingstone. I met with the DJ duo in Whistler this past January while they were on their winter tour. "It feels like we just got off the hill. Everyone's in their ski gear, and it's a real loose, happy vibe. Even in the UK last October, in this little town way down on the south coast, they decked out the whole bar in skis, rented snow machines, it was sold out, and everyone was in ski gear. It was a big surprise."
Livingstone and Rollie fortuitously fell into throwing these events when they caught their big break at Shambhala Music Festival in 2013. Given the chance to play a lucrative time slot, the two hyped up the show by donning retro snow gear for the first time and bought a snow machine for their set. "We went all out for the 2013 show cause we felt like we had been given this huge break by playing this time slot, so we really wanted to make an impression," explains Livingstone. "Before that, we hadn't worn ski gear or anything, it was just our name."
Much to their amusement, the unintended side effect became the thing that would go on to become Skiitour's signature. It was when everyone arrived snow-suited up at their follow-up show in Victoria, BC the week after, Livingstone and Rollie knew they had stumbled onto something. "We showed up at the club (we didn't even know if anyone was going to show up), and the place was rammed. Everyone was wearing ski gear and goggles and we were like 'Woah! We're on to something here.'"
Livingstone and Rollie's cinderella story began similarly, with a chance encounter at a concession stand at the base of Whistler Mountain. Livingstone was biking when he heard a song Rollie was playing while working at a local slopestyle tournament. What was just a quick stop to grab the track name and artist ended in the two playing a DJ set together a week later. When the two began lining up the same samples to play next, they knew they had found something special. "It was like four of five times we had the same song queued up to play next. It was crazy," tells Livingstone. This began a whirlwind musical romance which landed them 3 years later as two of Whistler's favourite DJs, and up-and-comers in BC's thriving electronic music scene.
These days, Skiitour has become notorious for making it feel like a Whistler party wherever they play, keeping momentum moving by touring around western Canada and pumping out fresh tunes and mixes for the past two years. As fun as apres-ski parties can be, what truly keeps people coming back for more is their music, which features a diverse range of sounds. A strong house backbone gives way to trap, twerk, drum and bass, and even a little moombahton punctuated by breaky electro-funk and hip-hop throwbacks. Their live sets are fluid and up-to-date with fresh and danceable tracks and remixes, leaving you so caught up in the music you'll forget whatever the hell you're wearing and dance the night away.
"When we first started out, we were making ghetto funk. It was sort of funky breaks stuff. But we just weren't feeling that after a while," says Livingstone. "We're still kind of pigeonholed into that, especially by the people that haven't heard us for the last couple of years, but we feel very free now because there's no genre we can't touch. We can play everything."
Skiitour just finished up their winter tour, but they will be playing plenty of festivals in the upcoming summer months. Watch out for them at Bass Coast, Astral Harvest, What The Festival, and more. Even in the summer heat, you may find people are still showing up in ski gear. But as Skiitour did, just go with it—that mentality is a true reflection of these two longtime friends with Whistler roots and a loose, happy-go-lucky vibe. "Fuck whatever you're wearing," as Rollie says. Skiitour's only real goal is "to leave you with sore legs and sore cheeks from smiling" (and just maybe a face full of powder).
First time listeners, check out their 2014 Shambhala mixtape, stacked with disco beats and hip-hop throwbacks. It's sure to not disappoint.