I’m back in Vancouver for the Olympic events at Cypress Mountain. The weather has gone from rain/snow/fog to sunny and fifty degrees. The workload has gone from shoveling snow in the rain to sitting in the sun and watching the athletes train on the course we built. The crew I’m on has grown very protective of the course and grown a bit of an attitude, “We built this course so stay the hell off it”, berating anyone that gets near it.
You’ve got to love a serious Athlete!
Helen has been having fun working in the Athlete’s lounge. She was given a top-secret mission by the French snowboard team to find a sharpie pen and draw fake mustaches on each other before the half-pipe competition watched by millions all over the world. She was successful. Hours before the biggest event of their career they are in the bathroom drawing moustaches on each other laughing like schoolgirls. You gotta love snowboarders.
I’m a short-timer now, with just one last shift tomorrow, but its race day, the first Olympic women’s ski cross on the course we built. I will be working on the course.
I should be easy to spot; I’ll be in a Smurf-colored jacket and hat.
I just finished my fourth day volunteering on the hill (Cypress Mountain) building the course for the Olympic snowboard and ski cross race. I have the prestigious position of snowboard course shaper, I think a better title would be ‘Official Snow Shoveller of the Vancouver Olympics. It’s some serious manual labor but I am doing fine for an old man; the kids are complaining more than me about being tired and sore. Having a great time, I love it; the crew I’m working with, it’s a fun group; a bunch of stoner Canucks and Aussies, plus I’m working with the guru of snowboard course design; everyone is very mellow. It’s good working on the hill again, it reminds me of the old days working at Vail and Snowbird.
Helen started today; she is working in the snowboard athletes lounge. I’m outside shoveling snow all day in the rain and snow and she is inside flirting with Olympic snowboarders.
Everyone is working at full speed to get everything ready, it does not help that this is the worst snow year they have had in ten years. There are snow cats and construction vehicles racing all over the mountain plus they are flying three helicopters at the same time transporting hay bales, snow and random equipment from cables attached to their underside. One of the helicopters is a huge air crane, a bug like monstrosity that transports a ton of snow from the surrounding mountain tops.
We were working on one of the last turns, #7, and one of the helicopters was dropping equipment thirty yards away from us all day, kind of sketchy considering at one point it dropped not only the equipment but also the huge carrying cable. I got some good advice from one of the crazy Canuck controllers; “you should pay attention because that sh*t can really kill you”.
Thanks pal. It’s kind of hard to ignore a helicopter a hundred feet directly above you with a ton of steel swinging wildly on a fifty foot cable.