Archive for February, 2010

Whistler Celebrates Canada’s Hockey Gold Medal!

I’m sure everybody in Canada saw the overtime win posted earlier today by Team Canada over USA in the final event of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. What a way to wind up the 17-day extravaganza!

The broadcast networks showed scenes from celebrations across Canada, including the main action in Whistler’s Village Square. After fighting my way through the masses in Village Square, I settled in at Mountain Square at the base of both ski hills, and not quite so jam-packed. Here is my brief video of what transpired just after Sidney Crosby’s winning OT goal sent the entire country into a frenzy.

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One More Gold, Please!

Hard to believe I’m going up to Whistler for my final vollie shift this morning! I’ll then be staying up there to cheer on Team Canada in the Gold Medal hockey match-up with Team USA. One more gold and we break the record for most golds in a Winter Olympics – currently at 13.

Go, Canada, Go!!!

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I love waffles – part 3

Belgian Waffle in the palm of my hand

Belgian Waffle in the palm of my hand

And the Medals for WIW (Waffles in Whistler) go to:
Gold – Belgian Waffle (to the left)
Silver – Crystal Hut fully-loaded
Bronze – Norway House
With Andrew up in Whistler a couple of days ago, I had to take him to try out the Belgian Waffle from the little stand by the Longhorn Pub. This would confirm my opinion on the Gold Medal for Waffles in Whistler. The look on Andrew’s face after just one bite was all I needed to declare a winner!

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Final event for me – Women’s Bobsleigh, Feb. 24

Standings after round #3 Womens Bobsleigh - Feb 24

Standings after round #3 Womens Bobsleigh - Feb 24

What an event to be able to witness in person, as Canada claimed both Gold and Silver in the women’s bobsleigh! The atmosphere was electric, with a huge crowd gathered even though Canada was playing Russia in the men’s hockey quarterfinals at the same time. The stadium announcer did his best to keep us informed of the score in that game (eventually won by Canada 7-3), at appropriate breaks in the bobsleigh action.

Andrew came up from White Rock to take in the event and festivities around Whistler Village. I hope he is still speaking to me after I made him hike up to the start of the bobsleigh – the equivalent vertical rise of about a quarter of the Grouse Grind. I guess I “forgot” to tell him about that part of the day 🙂

I was not having as much success in capturing the fast-moving sleds as Andrew, but I do have a few pictures in this SmugMug gallery.

I decided I might have better luck with a couple of short videos that are in my YouTube Olympic playlist.

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I love waffles – part 2

The fully-loaded waffle at Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain

The fully-loaded waffle at Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain

Well, how many thousands of words is this picture worth?

I first heard about the waffles at Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain a couple of weeks ago from fellow volunteers, Pat & Paul. So, on my day off yesterday I made a point of checking them out while skiing on Blackcomb for the day.

The skiing was not bad, considering there had been no fresh snow for about a week. The brilliant sunshine of the past week started giving way to clouds in the morning and light snow in the afternoon. That did not deter me as I made my way up to Crystal Hut at just under the 6,000 foot level on the mountain.

I must have appeared a bit too anxious as I arrived 10 minutes before their opening time of 10:00 am. The chef told me to go ski another run, so I did as I was told. In the picture to the left, you see what was waiting for me when I returned 🙂 It is the fully-loaded waffle – topped with blueberries, strawberries, maple syrup, whip cream & chocolate chips.

Back to the skiing for a minute. I got more than my money’s worth, as the mountain was virtually deserted. I may have had a couple of waits in line, but no more than 15 seconds – yes, seconds and not minutes!

Now back to the waffles. I had not planned on this being a series of related posts when I first wrote about the waffles at Norway House. But, I now feel more of a sense of purpose to my 2 weeks up at Whistler. Stay tuned for the next episode with pictures and a story about the yummy Belgian waffles from the edge of the Longhorn Bar at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

Check out a few more pictures in my SmugMug gallery .

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Devo @ Whistler – Feb. 22

Yes, it was that Devo that performed after the Medals Ceremony at Whistler a couple of nights ago. They are back on tour with a new album. Hard to believe it’s been 30 years since their big hit single and music video – Whip It! (caution – slow link)

I managed to snag one of the free tickets to see the Medals Ceremony and Devo Monday evening. I finished up my vollie shift early in the afternoon, so took advantage of another brilliant sunny afternoon to walk around the village and snap some pictures. The full set of pictures is in my SmugMug gallery. Here’s a shot of the band and some of the crowd near the front of the stage, wearing the new-look blue Energy Domes:

Devo performing in Whistler with new blue Energy Domes

Devo performing in Whistler with new blue Energy Domes

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Olympic Highs & Lows (so far)

Highs (so far)

  1. Skeleton Gold Medalist Jon Montgomery and his coronation as King of Whistler Sliding Centre – actually, King of all of Whistler! I really admire all the athletes that are here, whether or not they are medalists. But, Jon is a different animal all together and he rocks as both an athlete and a person!!!
  2. Walking up and down the Village Stroll in Whistler – you never know who you’re going to run into, what band may strike up on a Whistler Live Stage, street performers that pop up, or whatever …
  3. My VANOC volunteer Blue Jacket and the rest of the uniform. As VANOC CEO John Furlong says, “It is a sign that you are part of the inner circle: you are Team 2010.” I feel priviledged to be a part of the team, and am often stopped and asked questions in the Village as people just assume you are knowledgeable when you’re wearing that jacket 🙂
  4. The Accreditation Team that I’m on has a mix of volunteers and VANOC employees from many different parts of the country and the world. It’s been a lot of fun meeting and working with a variety of interesting characters that makes the time pass so quickly. We also get exposed to all sorts of people coming in for accreditation, and their excitement rubs off on you.
  5. Attending 3 events in person this past week:
    – Women’s Luge on Feb. 16, with George
    – Women’s Biathlon on Feb. 18, with Dave
    – Men’s Long Hill Ski Jumping on Feb. 19, with Wes
    The venues are all just wonderful, but my favourites are those up in the Callaghan Valley. So close to Whistler (20 minutes), but completely away from the hustle and bustle. This is one of the greatest legacies of the Games, in my humble opinion.
  6. Not having to drive my car this month. I’m saving lots of money by using the extended BC Transit service and the special VANOC workforce buses between Squamish and Whistler.
  7. My brisk half-hour walks to/from the transit hub next to WalMart – excellent daily aerobic exercise.
  8. The Belgian waffles next to the Longhorn.
  9. The nightly medals ceremonies and concerts that follow in Whistler Celebration Plaza. Even when it was raining on the first night, it was quite the festive atmosphere and a great way to celebrate the day’s achievements.
  10. The amazing efforts of the course crews at Cypress Mountain. Mother Nature threw one curve ball after another at them the past couple of months, and they seem to have an answer for just about anything. They have managed to produce race courses that are very good and fair, and have produced some exciting competitions.

Lows (so far)

No list here, as most of my low moments are pretty minor. Sure, there have been a few glitches at venues and postponement of some events. But, those have been documented elsewhere (especially the British press). For me personally, I’ve been quite fortunate as my lowest low so far was at Canada House yesterday. They have a free pancake breakfast every Saturday morning from 9:00 to 11:30 am, and when I got there at 10:30 am they had already run out of pancakes and bacon 🙁

On a much more serious note, I do not want to downplay the very unfortunate death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on Opening Day. Please check my earlier posts and photos for more details. This was quite a low point to start the Games, and really makes all the other glitches and inconveniences appear to be relatively minor and insignificant. Whistler has made a good effort to remember young Nodar as part of the 2010 Olympic Games – in spirit, if not in body.

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The Mid-Way Point is Here Today

Today is Day 9 of our 17-day Winter Olympic Games, marking the mid-way point of the Games. Eight days are already in the books, and 8 more remain after today.

How are you all holding up? I’ve had an amazing 8 days, with a mix of volunteering and spectating. But, I’m pretty beat with lots of long (and fun) days up here in Whistler. Yes, I know I live in Squamish, but have not spent much time there since the start of the Games. That will all change tomorrow with my first full day off – no volunteer shift and no event to attend.

My intention is to first of all catch up on some extra sleep, before catching up on my blog updates. I have not had a chance to write much about my experiences at the luge,biathlon and ski jumping events I attended over the past week. I have uploaded some pictures for all 3 events:

Today, I’m nearing the end of my volunteer shift up in Whistler, and looking forward to the medals ceremony tonight. This will be the first Gold Medal presented to a Canadian in Whistler, and the whole village will be rocking when skeleton race Jon Montgomery steps up (or jumps up) to the podium tonight!

Update from later Saturday night:

Whistler Village was packed for the Medals Ceremony, and I managed to get a standing spot just outside the plaza as no extra tickets were available for tonight’s ceremony. Here’s a shot of the flags raised while the Canadian anthem was being played for our Gold Medal (notice the flag pole in the way of Jon Montgomery on the podium):

Raising of flags at Men's Skeleton Gold Medal Ceremony

Raising of flags at Men's Skeleton Gold Medal Ceremony

It was quite moving while singing along to Oh Canada with the many thousands of fans gathered both inside and outside the gates to the Celebration Plaza in Whistler. Here are some more of my pictures from today, as well as some from earlier in the week:

As proud as I was to be a Canadian and a very small part of Jon’s Gold Medal achievement, I also was reminded of how precious life itself is as I walked by this more permanent tribute to fallen Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili – just ouside Whistler Town Plaza:

Tribute to fallen Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili

Tribute to fallen Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili

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A Day at the (Luge) Races

Luge racer coming down straightaway

Luge racer coming down straightaway

Just a quick summary from my first day as an Olympic spectator, watching the final 2 rounds of the women’s luge race at the Whistler Sliding Centre. First thing to note is that the Sliding Centre is actually on Blackcomb Mountain and not Whistler! Not to worry, as the bus drivers and volunteers made sure we got to our correct destination.

George had driven up from North Vancouver, and we then hopped the BC Transit bus up to Whistler. Before we ventured up to the venue, we needed to make a quick stop at Norway House for waffles. We really tested the hospitality of our Norwegian hosts as George was dressed in his Team Canada hockey jersey on the day that Canada would open the hockey tournament against Norway. On top of that, Canada had just defeated Norway in curling (in extra ends)! The Norwegians were cool with that, but did remind us of their successes at biathlon and cross-country skiing 🙂

For now, I will just point you to my pictures at SmugMug, and my videos on You Tube (3 videos from Feb. 16) as I’m getting ready to leave for the biathlon races today with Dave. Here’s a sample video:

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Sunny in Squamish, Foggy in Whistler

It was a brilliant sunny early morning in Squamish, as I boarded the volunteer bus to Whistler. When I woke up and got off at the other end in Whistler, it was pretty well fogged in on the lower mountain. Not a good sign for the women’s downhill race scheduled to start at 11:00 am. But, in the 20 minutes I’ve beenhere in a local coffee shop. the fog has started to roll out. Keep your fingers crossed!  

Tantalus Range behind Home Depot from Transit Exchange

Clear early morning in Squamish

Foggy early morning in Whistler

Foggy early morning in Whistler

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