In a couple of weeks the 2010 Olympics will kick off in Vancouver and Whistler. One observation and some resultant questions:
Observation: The climate of Vancouver is balmy – so similar to the climate of London that one wonders why in the name of Zeus they wanted a winter Olympics instead of a summer Olympics. As it is, for the outdoor events in the Vancouver area, snow is being trucked in (and even flown in by helicopter!). The city will look all green and spring-like for the TV cameras and visitors (or all grey and rainy and fogbound); in no case will it be a wintery scene. Add in the fact that revenues for Winter Olympics are miniscule compared to the real (summer) Olympics, and the additional reality that every Olympic games in the past fifty years has gone way over budget and incurred long-term debt, one wonders what benefits the proponents actually foresaw.
Questions: Did you know there was an Olympics coming up in Vancouver? Do you care? Will anyone outside of North America and Northern Europe be watching? Are the Olympic Games (summer or winter) worthwhile in any way, or is it simply big business, and the IOC just another arrogant bunch of international corporate thieves?
Media analysts are predicting NBC will lose 250million dollars on this venture. fwiw, the video of the highlights will be great, but locking up free time for a stint in front of the "other" tube seems unwarranted. Thinking of the endless biographies of devoted and "spunky" participants and their families makes me tired. I'll watch youTube after.
Right now there is no snow on the slopes, plus eight degees C in "Lotus Land", the security is a total shambles and unless they are compensated will result in some of the West Coast float and small charter outfits going under, many of us in Canada are praying that the whole thing implodes so in the future no city in the country will ever be dumb enough to bid on the games!The Games are not about sport, they are all about politics and which nation has the best anti drug detection industry, for the life of me I cant fathom what men dresed in their sisters skating outfits have to do with sport!The media made a great fuss about the torch run across the nation, in our local almost empty sidewalks greated the runners.
"Eddie the Eagle" carried the torch on part of its run across Canada, Im told the crowds were larger watching him than at any other location, to many of us he represents the true "Olympic Spirit" far better than the steroid gulping twits who make up a large percentage of the participants.
Plus seven in VR at four AM today! It seems that the Olympic spirit is somewhat lacking at the various FBOs one has to go through to obtain security clearence to fly into the area, some charging from $150 to $700, I fly some charity flights and was told no exceptions will be made, what a black mark this is on Canada, a nation which once was known for compassion and charity, bring on the rain!
Engine test benches (or "cells" in Yankspeak) usually have electrical anti-icing heaters on the turning vanes and acoustic panels in the inlet ... unless it's a tropical location.
The big test cell at YVR was apparently deemed to be "tropical" because its original owner, CP Air, decided it was uneconomical to install the heaters. They could stand being shut down the few days icing was likely.
Those coordinates look very close to the old (early 1970's) CP Air hangar and offices. God, that was a great place to have lunch. Great food, great prices. Many of us who worked on the south side of YVR were lucky enough to have access in those days.
It may be a bit grim for the events held on Cypress mountain in Vancouver (but they'll make it work, fear not), but having just got back from a glorious day's skiing in Whistler today I can confirm that the snow up there (where a lot of other snow-based events are taking place) is absolutely terrific. Best I've seen in a couple of years, in fact. They have loads of the stuff.
As for balmy weather: this year is abnormal. Warmest ever January in Vancouver. Lest that excite any Global Warming types, last Winter was an absolute cracker here in the city if you enjoy the white stuff, it was bloody freezing for ages, there was a huge amount of snow and it brought the place to a standstill for weeks.
This is an El Niño year. Perhaps bad timing, but as noted, one Mountain in Vancouver does not the Winter Games make. Most of the outdoor areas are in great shape.
PS. I have no issue with labeling the IOC just another arrogant bunch of international corporate thieves, but Vancouver (with Whistler) is an entirely suitable venue for a Winter games, should a Winter games be held.
PPS. I shot this at Cypress, last year, this is what it's usually like!
The snow would be good, we had pretty well a record cold November and a damned cold early December. Green Lake, the big one you see to the North from the Mountain, was frozen almost record early and I think the accumulated depth of snowfall is up in the 8 to 10 metres. I have shovelled more than enough of it.
Usually we get a fortnight of sunshine sometime in February, though it looks as though we might not this year. One can hope.
They are not actually trucking snow for Cypress yet, The last couple of months they pushed the snow up the mountain and piled it, now they are pushing it back and piling it on hay bales to make the courses. Personally I think they should have held the board events in Whistler too. It is common enough to be short of snow on Cypress and even on Grouse. I lived on the hill below for ten years and there were years we could only use it for a week or two. On the other hand skiing Grouse on a clear Winter evening is a unique experience.
I would say that VANOC is not universally admired or even liked around here but at this stage all we can do is try and make sure that our visitors have a great time. There is so much utter stupidity around it is hard to imagine anything going according to plan but that seems to be the norm with big and expensive organisations, maybe it gets lost in the overall event.