Archive for February, 2010

Transitioning from Volunteer to Spectator

Quatchi

Quatchi

What do you think of Quatchi – pretty cute, isn’t he? Should he start in net today for Canada, rather than Bobby-Lou 🙂

Quatchi was a volunteer gift we received once we recorded our sixth volunteer shift, part of a program to provide a gift to volunteers for every 3 shifts we work. One of many thoughtful ways in which VANOC recognizes the contribution of volunteers to the overall success of the Games.

Today marks a transition for me – from volunteer to spectator. My buddy George is coming up from North Vancouver, and we’ll be heading up to the Whistler Sliding Centre to catch the final 2 rounds of the Women’s Luge this afternoon. In fact, I will be attending events on 3 of the next 4 days, including Biathlon on Thursday with Dave, and Long Hill Ski Jumping on Friday with Wes. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the events live! And, after today it looks like the weather is going to clear up and getting colder – feeling more like winter all the time 🙂

I have a few more pictures of our Olympic mascots and the Accreditation Team up at Whistler, and you can find them here.

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The Gold Rush Begins

Alexandre Bilodeau:

Thank you very much for your inspirational mogul run, and for leading the way to many more gold medals for Canadians at the 2010 Winter Games.

Merci beaucoup!

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I love waffles

Enzo's Brunch Plate at Norway House

Enzo's Brunch Plate at Norway House

I finally made it into Norway House on my way into work this morning. It was packed with Norwegians watching their beloved biathletes in competition, live from Whistler Olympic Park on a television feed from their home country. They still welcomed us non-Norwegians with open arms.

The fresh aroma of the waffles hit you as soon as you entered the room. They aren’t as sweet or thick as we are accustomed to, but very tasty especially topped with either goat cheese or strawberry jam.

A few more pictures are here.

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Gung Hay Fat Choy

农 历 新 年

And Happy Valentine’s Day, of course!

Go, Canada, Go!!!

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First Full Day at Whistler – Whew!

What a day for the first full day of competition up at Whistler! Only Mother Nature was not cooperating, as rain fell off an on from about noon onwards. This forced postponement of the men’s downhill till Monday, one of many events in which Canada has a legitimate shot at Gold.

The day started out pretty clear as I got off my commuter bus from Squamish:

Blackcomb Mountain in early morning

Blackcomb Mountain in early morning

On the bus ride up to Whistler, one of my fellow commuters had a number of extra tickets for the Medals Ceremony later that night. The headline act was The All-American Rejects, so I snapped up a ticket and adjusted my plans for the day. But, first off to my shift at the Accreditation Centre – a small lineup to start an otherwise slow day:

Small lineup at opening of Accreditation - Feb 13

Small lineup at opening of Accreditation - Feb 13

Had some time to kill in the afternoon before the medal ceremony at 6:30. First stop was Whistler Live at Village Square where Toronto band Elliott BROOD was performing.

Elliott BROOD - Whistler Village Square

Elliott BROOD - Whistler Village Square

On the way to the medals ceremony, I also ran into street performers Duh Hockey Guys:

Duh Hockey Guys - Whistler Live street performers

Duh Hockey Guys - Whistler Live street performers

Whistler’s Rob Boyd carried in the Olympic Torch to light the cauldron in Whistler, with John Furlong and other officials greeting him.

Olympic Torch carried into Whistler by Rob Boyd

Olympic Torch carried into Whistler by Rob Boyd

My complete set of pictures from the day can be found here.

I’ll leave you with a video I shot of the first medals presented at Whistler, for the Men’s Normal Hill Ski Jumping:

First Medals Presentation @ Whistler – Feb 13, 2010 from Enzo Federico on Vimeo.

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With Glowing (and Heavy) Hearts

It was a day of very mixed emotions up at Whistler. Excitement definitely filled the air this morning, as we eagerly counted down the final few hours to the start of the Opening Ceremonies and unveiling of the final Torch Bearer.

The mood became quite sombre by mid-day with word of an accident at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Twenty-one year old Georgian athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili, was fatally injured during the final training session in the last corner of the track. The images of Nodar’s accident were difficult to watch, but also necessary from my perspective. Necessary because the Games will continue, with many celebrations including the fabulous Opening Ceremonies this evening. Nodar’s memory was honoured by the IOC, VANOC, his Georgian teammates and the 60,000 spectators at the Ceremonies.

I just want to add my thoughts and prayers for this young man’s family and teammates, to the outpouring of emotion that his fatal accident has generated.

I added the following picture the next day – one of many tributes to a young life taken too soon:

Tribute to Nodar Kumaritashvili - Whistler Town Plaza

Tribute to Nodar Kumaritashvili - Whistler Town Plaza

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A Taste of Norway in Squamish

For a country with a population of only 4.7 million, Norway has done extremely well in Winter Olympic competitions. In fact, I met an enthusiastic member of their delegation in Whistler a couple of weeks ago and he claimed that since 1992, Norway has won more Winter Olympic medals than any other nation. I have yet to substantiate that fact, but it is still quite an impressive claim for a country whose population is only a half-million more than our province of British Columbia.

Golden Crust Bakery in Squamish

Golden Crust Bakery in Squamish

So, how exactly do the Norwegian Winter Olympians get to the podium so often? Is it better coaching, better training, more funding, or perhaps something in the water up there? Maybe, but I think it may have something to do with the fact they bring their own personal bakers along to the Winter Games. And for 2010, they are producing their fine baked goods right in here in Squamish!

The bakers are from din baker – Norway’s nation-wide chain of locally based trade bakers. For the 2010 Winter Games, they searched for a baking location in Squamish that would allow them to efficiently distribute their baked goods daily to their athletes in both Vancouver and Whistler. They found just such a facility for their endeavours at Golden Crust Specialties. Patricia and Wade Yendall opened their very popular retail outlet in Squamish Industrial Park just over a year ago, and are now partnering with the Norwegian bakers for 3 weeks in February.

Pat, with Henrick and Armund from din baker (Norway)

Pat, with Henrick and Amund from din baker

I popped in to Golden Crust today to check out what was going on, and to pick up some of the Norwegian baked goods for myself too. Pat introduced me to Amund and Henrick from din baker, and we chatted about their role on the Norwegian team. They quite humbly denied being the secret to their country’s success at the Winter Games. Amund says they will be baking about 120 loaves of bread a day for their team, with the majority going to Whistler. They have had the ingredients shipped over from Norway, so it will be just like at home for the athletes.

For the record, I also asked them about Norway’s chances in men’s hockey against Team Canada in the opening game of the Olympic tournament next week. Again, they were quite humble and realistic in saying that it would take much more than their baked goods for Norway to upset our Canadians. But, they will not concede victory to Canada in any of the other events in which Norwegian athletes will compete.

Skolebrod

Skolebrod

Before leaving, I picked up a loaf of their hearty multi-grain bread and a tasty treat called Skolebrød. It’s a rather simple but yummy bun filled with custard and topped with icing and grated coconut. I think I will be back to sample more of their baked goods over the next 3 weeks. If you’re thinking of trying some of the Norwegian goodies, Golden Crust will be open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm every day right up to Feb. 27. According to Pat, the best time to get their bread and sweet buns are after 1:00 p.m. as most of it isn’t ready before that due to their schedule. I’ll see you there 🙂

Some more pictures below.

din baker - Norwegian Olympic Team Bakers

din baker - Norwegian Olympic Team Bakers

Henrick and Armund from din baker (Norway)

Henrick and Amund from din baker (Norway)

Henrick from din baker (Norway)

Henrick from din baker (Norway)

Armund from din baker (Norway)

Amund from din baker (Norway)

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Whistler Images Before Work

Just wanted to share a few pictures from before the start of my shift this morning. I had to power walk for 20 minutes just to make it to the transit exchange for my 7:10 am bus from Squamish to Whistler. Nice, comfortable coaches for workforce, with reclining seats, made for a pleasant hour to catch up on my sleep.

After a quick trip of about an hour, I had some time to stroll through Whistler Village before the 9:00 am start of my shift. It was very quiet, except for volunteers,workers and media. Below are a few of my pictures from this morning.

Update @ 10:30 pm – I’ve also added a few of my night-time pictures below.

Enzo and the Olympic Rings

Enzo and the Olympic Rings - Whistler Town Plaza

Olympic Rings at Night

Olympic Rings at Night - Whistler Town Plaza

Village Gate Blvd, Whistler

Village Gate Blvd - Gateway to Whistler Village

Village Gate Blvd at Night - Gateway to Whistler Village

Village Gate Blvd at Night - Gateway to Whistler Village

House of Switzerland

House of Switzerland - Whistler Village

Whistler Event Ticket Centre

Whistler Event Ticket Centre prior to opening

Play Area by Whistler Medals Plaza

Play Area by Whistler Medals Plaza

Getting ready for Whistler Live

Getting ready for Whistler Live

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See You in March, Vancouver

Park the car for 3 weeks

The car is now parked for 3 weeks

The opening of the Games is just a few days away. Today marked the last time I’ll be doing my daily commute along the Sea-To-Sky Highway between home in Squamish and my office in North Vancouver – at least until after the Winter Games. My little RAV4 is getting a well-deserved break from the 125 km. daily round-trip, and will be nicely tucked away in my garage for most of the next 3 weeks. I’ll be using the VANOC-provided volunteer shuttle for my shifts in Whistler, and BC Transit for other trips to take in events and/or enjoy the celebrations. Lots of time on the buses to get caught up on some sleep while listening to my iPod.

This day actually started with a couple of new highway features on my drive into work. First, at Brittania Beach (11 km. south of Squamish), the southbound traffic is being diverted to the older, smaller bridge over the creek, leaving 2 lanes to northbound traffic. The next feature came just a few kilometres further south, at the tight section around the Porteau Bluffs where there is only room for 1 lane in each direction. For one kilometre, they are diverting southbound traffic to the railway tracks which have been paved over. It felt like I was back in Toronto driving over streetcar tracks on St. Clair Ave.West in the heart of Little Italy.

One more warning if you’ll be driving on the Sea-To-Sky highway over the next few weeks – observe the speed limit! If you speed, you will most likely get caught as the RCMP are all over the highway. So, please take your time and leave early to get where you’re going. It will be safer for everyone, and easier on your hard-earned money.

Breakfast at Denny's

Free Breakfast at Denny's

Before I sign off, just a couple more things. It appear that food is featuring prominently in my posts – wonder why 🙂 I’m not sure what Denny’s was celebrating today, but I did take advantage of their free breakfast promotion on my way to work this morning. More to come from Whistler – pancakes at Canada House, waffles at Norway House, …

Lastly, I encourage you to follow the example of my friend Greg from Newfoundland, who made the first post on my You page. Please share some thoughts on what you are planning to do while the Olympics are taking place. Are you going to any events? Are you volunteering? Are you leaving town? …

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Super Bowl Weekend

Yes, it’s the weekend before the big party starts in Vancouver & Whistler, up in the Pacific Northwest. To the extreme southeast from us, is the big annual party called the Super Bowl, in south Florida this year.

What does this have to do with the Olympics – nothing, really. But, it was nice to have a bit of a break this weekend – both from my paid gig and Olympic volunteering! I did have some time to watch the Super Bowl upset vistory of the Saints over the Colts.

I also managed to get out to snap a few pictures in the areas just south and north of Squamish. It felt like the calm before the storm, as things were still rather quiet on the highway. Here are some of my pictures (taking adavatage of a SmugMug plugin I found). 

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