Many friends embark on ski trips in the winter, taking a break from their day jobs. For Dan Quinn, he decided to take his day job on his ski trip.
The Vancouver-based comedian started the Snowed In Comedy Tour as a way to go snowboarding with friends eight years ago, and it has grown into an annual tradition. He and his expertly funny friends tour Western Canada, hitting every ski hill they can along the way.
“The original idea started when I was in Fernie. I was there by myself, there was killer powder day, we had 120 cms in one day. This was about in 2008,” said Quinn. “I was like, I could come here and do a show, I bet I could break even on it. So then I told a couple of other guys about it, and they said, hey we will come with you. We got a map called the Powder Highway map and I marked all of the ski hills, and I was like okay, I’m just going to go from hill to hill.”
The tour has gained in popularity, receiving standing ovations for their first five shows in a row this year.
“I think it’s our best show yet. We have never had standing ovations like this before, we’ve had people go, ‘We are coming again’, but it feels like there is a whole new level to the show this year,” Quinn said.
The show is hosted at the Northern Bar and Stage, and Quinn says there isn’t much difference between playing a 100-seat venue, like the Northern, and a big city venue.
“It’s not that much different. People are people,” he said. “You have to wait a little longer for your laughs, and it’s a bit different right, but it’s amazing. The Northern Bar and Stage has been an absolute treat. They set it up theatre style and have been so much fun actually – killer shows.”
This year, the Fernie stop features comedians Craig Campbell, Pete Zedlacher, Paul Myrehaug along with Quinn. The only requirements to being invited on the tour are that you have to be funny and you have to like skiing or snowboarding.
“What happens is you have three guys on a snowboarding trip and one guy on a comedy tour,” said Quinn. “It’s just not fun, it doesn’t work for the group. Everybody has got to be into it. If you’re not into it, it’s just not fun. You just separate yourself from it. There are tons of great comics out there but if they are not into that, it just doesn’t work for the tour.”
The comedians involved love to ski and snowboard so much that it’s rare that they give up their spot on the tour. Quinn says he doesn’t have a hard time finding people who want to tour the province, ski as much as possible and play shows at night. Pete Zedlacher, who Quinn hails as one of Canada’s best comics, agreed to join the tour last year after a simple email exchange.
“I was like, ‘Hey do you ski’? That was my email to him. He said yes, and I go, ‘What are you doing for the next two weeks?’ and he said, ‘I actually have the next two weeks off’, and I’m like, ‘Alright, you’re on a plane’. And the next day he was flying out and joining us on the tour,” said Quinn.
This year, the comics will be loading up their two Ford Explorers and touring the province with new jokes. They are set to play the Northern on Jan. 31, and according to Quinn, it should not be missed.
“Brand new set, new jokes, and I think our funniest one yet,” he said.
Tickets to the tour are $25 and can be purchased online at Snowedincomedytour.com