Friday, December 19, 2008

Slippin' and Slidin' in Vancouver

It's hard not to feel like this guy once in a while...

I'm tired...tired of being on the road - The good news is that I'm done for now! Unfortunately, it's time to put everything I just did in the past weeks on paper...reports, reports, reports and maybe one or two spreadsheets - gotta love'em! Although the Van/Whistler trip didn't start off so great, it turned out to be a very good tour on all fronts.

I've never spent a lot of time in the Vancouver area but as far as a non-big-city guy goes...I found it quite easy to navigate through. That said, I always made sure to avoid the high volume traffic hours whenever I moved around.

Oops - I don't think that this is very good for business (photo: Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Whistler was a somewhat entertaining pit stop as one of the BlackComb gondola towers had just snapped in half, stranding its occupants for some time, and of course sending the media into a 'The World has Ended!" frenzy. Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt in the 'mishap'. I stretched my legs upon arrival and checked out the damaged tower - not good business I'm sure. After a good clinic at Savio's store, The Nordic Shop, I caught up with
Munny (check out his girlfriend shooting a fish - really!) to talk shop over a few beers -which I'm sure helped to numb the pain from his swollen jaw (he was due for a root canal surgery the next day!).

Forget the hat - look at Munny's jaw! And you thought he was just 'funny looking'...

The next day Munroe and I headed up to Callaghan Valley where we hooked up with
Jen Segger, who was keen to get out on the skinny skis for her first time this season (Jen rocked it). It was great to ski the 2010 Olympic Trails outside the 'race scene' as the last time I was here was during the 2008 National Championships and much of the venue was still under construction.

Big Thunder - Site of the 1995 World Nordic Ski Championships - Now a ghost town!

After the ski, I got a tour of the new ski lodge and noticed this poster on the wall...Foreshadowing maybe? Either way, it made me laugh...You see, this poster is the site of the 1995 World Championships in Thunder Bay, Ontario. At the time, I was living in Thunder Bay (1993 to 1995) as a member of the National Development Team (oh, and going to Lakehead University too...). After having won the bid to host the Worlds, the Canadian government spent millions of dollars into the venue - new infrastructure, new ski trails, ski jumps, freestyle jumps and summer training pool, snow making equipment, fancy ski lodge, yada, yada, yada...It was an amazing full service nordic centre! There was one problem...they never budgeted money to manage the project AFTER the Worlds...So about a year after the Worlds came to TBAY, the entire nordic centre, ski jumps, etc...shut down for good. It is now a ghost town.

So what the hell am I getting at...Well, Callaghan Valley (Whistler Olympic Park aka WOP) reminds me a lot of Big Thunder, except that Big Thunder was actually close to a city that supported nordic skiing! My question is: What's going to happen to WOP AFTER the Olympics? My opinion...there aren't enough nordic skiers or nordic tourism in the Van/Whistler area to support the venue. So how many tax dollars (and for how long) are we going to 'invest' in a World Class nordic centre that isn't sustainable? Don't get me wrong...I really do hope that Vancouver/Whistler nordic skiers support WOP and keep buying season passes because the skiing there is very good and a great benefit to the local communities...I guess only time will tell...(Note: I could go on and on about why I think WOP will go tits up, but I'll probably get in trouble - If you really want to know, just dig deeper!)

So back to my story...Overnight, a huge snow/wind storm blew in from the coast covering the entire coast with a lot of white stuff - and sending Vancouverites into a frenzy...It was pretty funny to witness actually. Unfortunately, my little rental car (Sonata), along with all the other rental cars in Vancouver had baby bald tires on it! I have to admit that I was pretty happy to make back to Vancouver where the +2C weather was keeping the roads free of snow.

Vancouver suburb, Deep Cove (Deep Cove Outfitters) - site of my last Swix Wax Clinic

And so here I am back in Canmore...freezing my butt off. The good news is that the skiing is actually pretty good, so dress warm, and get out there!

MC looking a little chilly after our afternoon ski - The snow making guns love this -25C because they can make lots and lots of snow!

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