Yes you read that title right – I’ve done a YetiCon interview for Senpai Spotlight! In this post, I interview one of the most favourite cons in Ontario (and possibly Canada) – YetiCon! If you want to know more about the convention itself, check out the guide I made last year.
This Senpai Spotlight is a little different from my usual ones. Due to the organized structure of cons, this YetiCon interview won’t be as long as say a cosplayer or photographer. And I only had time to email the convention, not sit down and do a voice interview like usual.
But don’t worry, you’ll find some interesting tidbits in this YetiCon interview. You’ll find out why the organizers decided to start a con at a ski resort. As well as which activities are most popular with attendees! Take a look!
Here’s where to find YetiCon on social media:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YetiCon.Official/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/YetiConAtBlue
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yeticon.official/
P.S. Special shoutout to Top 75 Cosplay Blogs for including me on their essential list of cosplay blogs! I am truly honoured. Be sure to check out their list if you’re looking for great cosplay content from other websites!
Hey! I’m Austin, and I’m one of the founding members of YetiCon. I’ll be speaking on behalf of the YetiCon Team. Although the team’s opinions may vary, I’m sure their answers would have similarities with my own, so I hope I can represent them appropriately in this YetiCon interview!
Senpai: How did you guys start YetiCon? What inspired you to do an Anime convention up at Blue Mountain?
YetiCon: It’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll try to keep it as short as possible! Being geeks practically our entire lives, and anime fans for just about as long, we’ve always loved conventions. Anime North, Fan Expo, Ad Astra, and Atomic Lollipop were all cons that each of us visited in their earlier days, and year after year we’d go back for more.
One of the things that drew us most to conventions was cosplay (so you can probably tell why YetiCon has a focus on cosplay!). The team had been skiing for years at Blue Mountain, but we’ve also made visits in spring and summer. It dawned on us one sunny spring day that the Blue Mountain Village would be an amazing location for a convention.
Conventions like Atomic Lollipop and Colossalcon were definitely inspirations to us. Our convention thought process wasn’t about getting the most famous celebrities to Collingwood. We had no delusions about that as a small convention. Rather, we wanted to create a weekend filled with fun, where attendees could geek out in cosplay together and do unique activities. Of all locations in Ontario, it seemed to us that Blue Mountain offered both unique activities, space, and a convention centre for us to fulfill our vision!
Senpai: The $60 pass can be considered relatively expensive for a Canadian con but cheap considering all the perks you can get. As organizers, does charging $60 cover all the expenses of the con and being able to use the resort amenities for free at a certain time?
YetiCon: This is actually a really good question. A single activity at Blue Mountain costs an adult $19 or higher! A single day at Plunge Aquatic Centre for example costs an adult $39! It’s actually been difficult to keep our pass at the same price year after year. But we’ve managed to do so thus far, even with the insane amount of value packed in.
Initially, in the early years, our costs were only being partially covered. However, as we grow we continue to cover more with the volume of sales. This has allowed us to expand the amount of activities we offer, as well as the amount of time they run for! So it really is a win-win scenario where, as we slowly make more sales, we can offer more to our attendees.
Senpai: Which activities are the most popular with YetiCon attendees (and maybe staff as well)?
YetiCon: Excluding the Pool Party, which would be an easy target, the Mountain Coaster is a big one. But the Zipline seems to always be filled to the brim as well! I think the general consensus among the staff is that the Mountain Coaster is our favourite, although experiencing the gondola and being at the top of Blue Mountain is a close second.
Senpai: When it comes to planning out YetiCon the way you guys want, how is it like working with the Blue Mountain team? Are there a lot of rules because it’s on a resort?
YetiCon: The Blue Mountain team has been fantastic to work with, but oh boy are there a ton of rules. We get a lot of suggestions from people that we love, but sometimes they just aren’t possible due to rules we have to work within; and sometimes getting the approval for something can take a very, VERY long time.
Senpai: One thing I’ve always wondered is if/when the con becomes very large in attendance, will the capacity for activities be an issue? (E.g. We can’t all fit in the aquatic pool, can we?!) Are there any plans if the con attendance increases dramatically?
YetiCon: We’ve definitely had to consider this, actually as early as year two! In year one, the pool party was almost near capacity, so its popularity made us take a hard look and plan out the future. This is one of the reasons why we expanded the pool party to be all day, not just for the attendees’ pleasure and convenience.
Rather than the entire convention heading to the pool for a specific time, attendees can drop by for one or two hours whenever they feel like it, and so far it has alleviated capacity issues tremendously! Going forward the idea is to have many different events running concurrently, for as long as possible to allow the population to naturally spread out.
Senpai: Do you have any future goals for the convention? (E.g. larger attendance, holding different events)
YetiCon: I feel like this is actually a very difficult question. Our goal since day one has been to throw a geeky event people can relax and have fun at, and we’ve pretty much only ever had that goal in mind.
We don’t spend any budget on advertising in an attempt to drag in a larger attendance. In fact, we work under the premise that if you like us, you’ll tell your friends about us, so all of our budget goes towards making the convention better. And, at this point, we’re definitely only focusing on the one YetiCon, as with our small team it’s more than enough for us.
So yeah, I guess our only goal has been and will continue to be to make an awesome convention for people to enjoy!
Senpai: Since a good portion of the events are outdoors, how do you guys deal with inclement weather?
YetiCon: For our first year we were blessed with fantastic weather. However, in year two, with the weather report predicting rain, we had planned ahead of time by moving scheduled events indoors, etc. but we never could have expected the level it would hit Blue Mountain at.
I, myself, vividly remember being caught in the midst of it climbing the mountain in an attempt to salvage Pokemon cutout props after an event. Needless to say, very few of the Pokemon cutouts survived (though some attendees had taken it upon themselves to take them home ahead of time XD)!
Since we made it through one of the worst weekends of weather the region has ever had (there was a literal mudslide on one of the ski trails that weekend), we’ve been really encouraged. If there’s ever a report of rain, a constant mantra among the team is, “It can’t be worse than year two!”
We actually feel somewhat fortunate to have rain in our second year, as it has made us really step our game up. We now plan with foresight and consider the possibility of rain for any event, and do our best to prepare backup plans.
Senpai: What are your thoughts or feelings regarding the inevitable cancellation of YetiCon in 2020 due to the pandemic?
YetiCon: Although it’s sad that YetiCon won’t be happening this year, the safety of everyone always comes first. With the cancellation of 2020 we’re looking forward to making 2021 the best experience we can.
I have very high hopes for 2021! With so many rooms being rolled over, 2021 room reservations are opening up with the smallest pool of available rooms ever. If there is increased demand/attendance, and more rooms are booked, it is entirely possible they could all sell out! 2021 quite possibly could be the year YetiCon does a full Blue Mountain takeover!
Senpai: What are some of your favourite conventions in North America you enjoy and possibly aspire to be?
YetiCon: As mentioned before, YetiCon was really inspired in theme by Atomic Lollipop and Colossalcon. We strive to put fun first. However, I feel Anime North is truly the progenitor of the anime convention experience in Ontario. There’s something incredibly special about hanging out outside in cosplay, meeting old friends and making new ones at Anime North.
Most recently, I’ve had the opportunity to attend Holiday Matsuri all the way down in Florida and I’ve gotta say the location is absolutely astounding. Location really makes the convention for me (one of the reasons we went with Blue Mountain after all!), and Holiday Matsuri has become one of my favourite conventions because of it!
Senpai: Will there ever be a YetiCon winter edition or YetiCon West (e.g. out in BC)?
YetiCon: Hahaha, we’ve joked about these things in the past. We’ve discussed maybe doing a one day event during the fall or another season. As for winter, it doesn’t really seem possible, as Blue Mountain already sells out their rooms while the ski slopes are open (and they probably wouldn’t appreciate us convention goers taking rooms and not buying ski passes during ski season).
As for a YetiCon at a different location, while we can’t say yes or no right now, we can say that that’s a little bit too far off in the future for a small convention like us to plan currently. Who knows what the future holds though!
I hope you guys enjoyed this YetiCon interview! If you have any questions for the organizers or have any thoughts, leave them in the comments below. 🙂
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!