Sunday, February 28, 2010

Whew! We did it, all Olympic Alpine Events finished in Whistler!

The last two days of Olympic competition at Whistler Creekside did not come easily. Some of the worst weather we had experienced so far (and that's saying a lot) descended on our venue. The volunteer course workers were on the mountain all night clearing snow in preparation for the Ladies' slalom event.

Somehow everything was ready on time and despite the heavy snowfall the first racer came out of the start gate on schedule. At the top of the course the fog added to the almost impossible conditions for the photographers. Some of my friends were frustrated that there were really great shots to be had but they were pretty much ruined by the terrible visibility but that's ski racing!

Again our Canadian athletes had some excellent runs that would have been celebrated results at World Cups but were off the podium here. This is young up and comer Erin Mielzynski from Edmonton. She skied a great race with an almost flawless first run. Watch for her in the future.
Yesterday (Saturday) was our last event at Creekside. Again the challenges facing the course crew were huge. Less fog and snow was a blessing but warmer temperatures were a big problem. Here water is being poured on the track to help firm it up for the run. Everything worked well and we saw two phenomenal slalom runs by the men.

Here's a shot of me and the Director of Alpine Sport, Banff's own Peter Bosinger. Peter has been in Whistler for the last few years, working for Vanoc, building the race courses and running the test events. No-one has been under more pressure than Peter and somehow he made it all work. Banff can be very proud of him.

It was a bit sad watching the last racer cross the finish line yesterday but it was mixed with a feeling of accomplishment and relief that every scheduled alpine event had been completed succesfully

In the early evening all of the staff and volunteers from the alpine venue met for a wrap up party in the finish area. Peter gave a hertfelt speech of praise for everyone who had helped make the games a success at Whistler Creekside.

As darkness fell I looked up at Whistler Mountain and took a quiet moment to soak it all in.
What an experience. 28 days of stress, ridiculously early mornings, pressure, politics, amazing ski racing and parties! I saw things that I'll never forget. The joy of the winners and the heartbreak of those that missed maybe thier once in a lifetime chance of glory. The Olympics are special just like they say. It sounds cliche but this was my second Winter Olympics and this morning when I woke up, for a moment I felt just what I felt 22 years ago the day after the games at Nakiska. A bit sad that it's over but a wonderful feeling that I was there at the greatest party in the world. Sochi 2014? Stay tuned!

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