Olympic Games: They called them ‘games’, I think, to remind us not to take them too seriously.
Whistler, the day before the games. Only hours after I posted the, “Bring on the Games…please!”, article yesterday a German official working on the Olympic downhill course came in the shop and put it all in perspective for me (read with a heavy German accent);
“Ze top, shnee, snow. 400 meter down, ze fog. Bottom, clear, rain,”
If there is one thing above all others, above planning and parking and accommodation and secure zones and police on street corners and Olympic athletes in swimsuit issues and even moody Whistler locals in the wake of tomorrow’s Olympic Winter Games, if there is one thing that can steal the fire of all the Olympic furor and remind us all just how small we truly are it is this:
|5 Day Forecast from Environment Canada|
Back to your best very serious German accent; “If zer is no training run, zer is no race.”, my new friend in his new neon green plaid Patagonia Slopestyle Hoodie tells me. I try not to smile too wide. If you read my post yesterday you might understand why a little ruffle in the Olympic feathers might amuse me right now, yes, exactly right now, so I reply, “Do you have a rain coat?”, taking care of business first of course. If only the Olympics were last week he must have been thinking…sunshine, blue skies, cold icy race course…perfect?
Welcome to Whistler! I wrote once, ‘Whistler is like Middle Earth…” when it comes to the rain season. What I neglected to mention though is that the ‘rain season’ here falls on the calendar pretty much any time Mom Nature damn well pleases it should. Blame the Pacific Flow, the Coast Range, El Nino, Global Warming, our parents and this mess they’ve left us (might as well throw them in while I’m at it, ha, ha!)…blame the Muni, the Province, the Feds, the IOC, VANOC of course…did I miss anyone? Blame them all, build a zillion dollar highway, the worlds longest and highest gondola ride,bring in the army, the jets and the helicopters, the troops in the woods and the RCMP igloos (aka ‘Pigloo’s’…sorry, not mine but I couldn’t resist), bring in over 100 extra buses and host the world’s biggest sporting event, plan every detail and contingency for YEARS…you getting the picture yet?…and then, like the ancient Greeks who brought us here we look up to the sky and, well, we know who is really in charge.
“I hope it pukes.”, says a teenage kid just in from New York who just leaned his snowboard next to the door. (You can go back and read it with a New York accent if you like.) “I didn’t go to school today.”, he tosses in for good measure. I smile and his mom looks up and does one of those, ‘mom smiles’. You parents know the ones…how you smile when your kid says something and you know maybe you shouldn’t smile because you’re the adult but, who are you kidding, you know they are right so you smile and look away before you laugh out loud (like the time my son’s Kishindo Sensei asked him to get up and stand in line with the other kids at the end of class and he sat there and said, “I’m in charge of my own body.”). To make a long story short…mother nature feels the same way when it comes to Whistler and she has given us plenty of warning…World Cup races and events of every kind, rain to the peak in January in recent years, snow in July, you name it…and now, the Olympics.
My new old German friend was the same in his own way (we are all kids inside aren’t we?). I could see in the years of skiing in his weathered eyes that Olympic Downhill or no Olympic Downhill he wished for snow like the rest of us even if he only secretly gets to enjoy it skiing down at 3 O’clock after the DH training run is cancelled and he gets to curse it over a beer with some friends – with the same smile he has – surrounded by happy locals with their fat skis and pow boards lined up around the railing of the upper deck at the GLC. It’s OK friend…I know.
Meanwhile: the Whistler alpine forecast is calling for 45-65cm to fall above 900-1100 meters by the end of Sunday. Bring on the games!