Monday, February 22, 2010

My Third Day the 2010 Winter Olympics

One of the things I said that I wanted to do during the Olympics was to go up to Whistler to ski and watch the men's downhill. Unfortunately, with the changes during the first week of competition due to poor weather up at Whistler, I was not able to do this. But yesterday, I ended up with the next best thing.

My friend Marvin Wayne joined me to drive up to Whistler on Sunday morning, leaving Bellingham at 6am. As an Edge Card holder, I was able to buy a driving/parking pass that entitled me to drive to Whistler. We arrived at 8:45am and immediately took the Whistler gondola up and skied over to an observation area where we could watch the men's downhill portion of the Super Combined.

We were in a crowd of around 100 people overlooking a turn called "The Weasel." Of course, what you see is a skier flying past at more than 60 mph. Each came into view and then blazed past us in just a matter of seconds. But it was still thrilling. We screamed and rang cowbells and waved flags as each competitor came into view, surrounded by a crowd from all over the world.

We stayed here and watched until the completion of this portion of the event. The men would then compete in the slalom portion of the super combined, which was held much further down toward Creekside. Because it was much lower on the mountain, we were not able to ski over to watch.

Rather than buy a ticket to watch the slalom, we packed up and headed back out to ski.

And what an incredible day of skiing, under a crystal clear blue sky. Coming up the 7th Heaven chair we were behind a snow boarder who was obviously part of the USA team. She looked a lot like Kelly Clark. I finally had to ski over to her and ask. "No. I'm one of the coaches. But I get asked that a lot." She was at Whistler riding with friends. We skied down Glacier Drive with her and her friends and then headed off for some more runs. It was incredible meeting people from all over the world. I rode chairs with people from Russia, Poland, Croatia, name it.

Once we finished skiing, we headed back to a friend's condo to change clothes and then went back into Whistler Village to The Brewhouse where we ate dinner, drank beer, and watched the USA defeat Canada in hockey 5 to 3. The crowd in the bar was evenly split between Canadian and American, and cheers and cowbells rang out throughout the game.

When the game ended just before 7pm,. I went outside and managed to get a standby ticket to the medals ceremony. Here's a video that truly captures the excitement, first with Evgeny Ustyugov winning the gold medal for Russia in the Men's 15 km Mass Start Biathlon and then Bode Miller receiving his second gold metal after winning the Men's Super Combined.

I then hung out for a bit longer to watch some of the performance by New Republic before heading back to the condo and then driving back to Bellingham. I was back in the house around 11pm, having spent an incredible day at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

I now have a couple of days to catch my breath before we head back to Vancouver and Whistler for 4 straight days of events. We've got tickets for the Women's Freestyle Aerials on Wednesday, the Women's Figure Skating long program on Thursday, Short Track Speed Skating on Friday (men's 500m, women's 1000m, and men's 5000m relay), and finally the last two heats of the 4-man bobsled up at Whistler on Saturday.

So far, the 2010 Winter Olympics have lived up to every expectation. The venues have been fantastic. The volunteers have been fantastic. I even must congratulate the people responsible for managing travel up to Whistler. Somehow, they managed to add an extra lane to the Sea to Sky Highway so that the road was two lanes all the way to Whistler and then at night two lanes from Whistler back to Vancouver. We experienced just a small slow down leaving Whistler.

There are even more photos on my Flickr site.

1 comment:

  1. The one time you watch figure skating is the day that Katrina does not work as an ice patcher!