Ski Independence Blog

Posts Tagged ‘vancouver 2010’

2009/10 Photo competition – entries so far…

The Team March 22nd, 2010

Thank you for all your entries so far for our 2009/10 photo competition. There have been some excellent submissions from resorts all over Europe & North America. Here are the entries so far:

There is still plenty of time to send in your entries to be in with a chance to win a custom made beanie thanks to Grannies, Inc.

Just send in your best photos & films from your 2009/10 ski holiday as an e-mail attachment along with your name, address, telephone number and age if under 18 yrs to [email protected].

It would be great if you could also include a note the location of the photograph and include a short caption to best describe the photo. 

Terms & conditions: Ski Independence will not be held responsible for any injury or accidents that occur as a result of attempting dangerous tricks or stunts. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges. The judges’ decision is final. Ski Independence has the right to use and publish any photo entered into the competition. Entries must be received on or before 1st May 2010.

Winter Olympic Experience Day 5: Canada wins gold!

Nick March 15th, 2010

Got up at stupid o’clock again to get the shuttle bus up to Whistler village for another slide using the Fresh Tracks ticket.

Skied all over Whistler mountain for a couple of hours with a few good powder runs down Harmony Bowl and even a run off the Peak Chair – the sun even came out in time to wave us goodbye. About 11am we skied top to bottom – a great run as there was virtually no-one on the mountain that day due to it being the end of the Games and the Gold Medal ice hockey was just about to start.

After a quick shower, I jumped on the airport bus and it was off back to YVR. With a constant stream of hockey updates being texted to us from friends in Whistler we drove through a bizarrely deserted Vancouver and arrived at the airport just as Sidney Crosby (think Wayne Rooney on skates) slotted home the winner in overtime for the Canadians. YVR departures was insane – no-one was checking in, no-one was shopping, no-one was eating – everyone was gathered around the massive video screen cheering on the Canadian victory. Awesome stuff, and a fantastic way to finish the trip.

Did I mention we flew back with the Norwegian ladies 4 x 5km relay team…

Whistler Experience Day 4: The Snow Leopard & Usher in one day!

Nick March 12th, 2010

Another early start. Met our Canadian hosts at 0715 for a home-cooked breakfast at Chez Merrell – I knew it was going to be a fun day as we started with a Caesar (similar Bloody Mary- contains vodka, clamato (a blend of tomato juice and clam broth) , followed quickly by a Mimosa (Bucks Fizz).

The Snow Leopard & Whistler Blackcomb at the Metro Ski Show 2009

The Snow Leopard & Whistler Blackcomb at the Metro Ski Show 2009

After a huge plate of waffles and bacon with the obligatory maple syrup, and a tonne of coffee, we walked over to the Olympic venue at Whistler Creekside for the Men’s Slalom race – security was airport style (which I have to say was slightly OTT) before we were allowed access.  Once inside the venue we grabbed our seats in the stadium just as the 3 forerunners were skiing the first course. There was live commentary from Chris Davenport and all the video playback and display you could handle on a giant screen. The atmosphere was intense and the venue was packed with loads of different nationalities – we sat beside the ‘snow leopard’s’ supporters from Ghana. The Croatians were all in to watch Ivica Kostelic, the Italians were there en-masse, everyone it seemed had a cowbell to ring, the Russians were there in hordes again and the beer was flowing. Suddenly it was time for the first of the 103 skiers (the top 30 are seeded, then the rest follow). They have a run down the first course, then a run down the second course after a short break – the times are added together and the winner has the fastest overall combined time. The best feature is that the fastest 30 skiers from the first run, then ski in reverse order for the second run – ie: the 30th placed skier in the first run starts 1st in the second run. It makes for a very exciting finale. I was blown away by the talent the skiers showed – the course was steep and very icy and visibility was awful, but they blasted down the course as if they were on rails. Out of 103 starters on run 1, only 53 posted a time and went through to the second run.

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Winter Olympic Experience Day 3: Fresh Tracks

Nick March 11th, 2010

Got up at 6am on Friday to get ready for an epic ski day…

Jumped on the first bus at Creekside and travelled 5 minutes up the road to Whistler Village to grab our skis from the Salomon store underneath the Pan Pacific Mountainside. I’d rented a new pair of K2 Apache Xplorer all-mountain skis (which turned out to be so good, I think I’ll have to buy a pair). We then walked the 200m over to the Whistler gondola for 7.15am to head up the mountain for full buffet breakfast – this is called Fresh Tracks and is a separate ticket to your lift ticket: you get early access to the mountain and a huge buffet breakfast at the top of the mountain – it is one of Whistler’s best features, especially on a powder day. Today was a powder day!

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Winter Olympic Experience: Day 2 – Snowshoeing, King of Norway & Olympic Buzz

Nick March 10th, 2010

We were up again early to head off to the Callaghan Valley to the Whistler Olympic Park, but first we had a spot of snowshoeing to do along the Medicine Trail with guides from Canadian Snowmobile.

I’ve never snowshoed before and I actually loved it – quite gentle walking through mature forest scenery, but with a super-informative guide and a nice breakfast back at their on-mountain base. It was really cool. They also have a snowmobile and dog-sledding operation here, and we got to meet some of the dogs – most were a husky+greyhound cross breed – think small, furry, stocky greyhound with those strange light blue eyes. Very friendly though. It was nice to be back in the mountains with real mountain people who have a real passion about what they do.

After the snowshoeing, we transferred to another bus and travelled further up the Callaghan Valley to the Olympic venue for the Nordic events – XC skiing, Ski Jump and Biathlon. Last winter I had the chance to ski some of the XC course, and climb to the top of the 90m ski jump – those guys are nuts by the way. From the top of the ski jump, you can’t see where you land… it just contours away from you. Anyway, I digress. We were here to watch the Ladies 4 x 5km XC Relay – 16 nations were competing (sadly no team from the UK). The format is relatively simple – the first skier from each team completes a circuit of the track skiing classic style, before handing over to the 2nd team member who then does the same. The 3rd and 4th skiers in each team ski a slightly different circuit, this time in free style (more of a skating technique, and much faster). It’s a real sprint relay, with a lot of climbing and subsequent downhill (which if you’ve ever tried to turn a fast, sharp corner on skinny XC skis, makes for an amusing spectator thrill at the corners). The ice maidens from Norway powered to victory – the 4th skier even had time to stop and collect a massive Norwegian flag before skating the last 200m, watched on by the King of Norway no less. The venue was jam-packed and it was a really amazing thing to watch. Canada was last unfortunately….. but got the biggest cheer. Lots of Russians in the same track suit about – very odd.

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Winter Olympic Experience: Day 1 Lesson 1: Canadians Love Ice Hockey

Nick March 9th, 2010

Last week I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend some of the events at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada courtesy of our industry partners Tourism Whistler.

Over the next week, I will recount the tales and the lessons I learnt…

Wednesday 24th February

After a fairly routine 10hr15mins long haul flight on Air Canada from Heathrow direct to Vancouver, I was slightly bemused to find the baggage re-claim hall packed with staff and visitors watching Canada pound Russia in an important ice hockey match. Lesson 1: Canadians love ice hockey.

Canada v Russia Ice Hockey Quarter Final

Canada v Russia Ice Hockey Quarter Final

The arrivals hall was even more boisterous – the whole place was filled with National Teams, VANOC staff, airport staff and visitors going absolutely nuts over the ice hockey. It was a really amazing atmosphere and I was a bit sad to jump on the transfer bus, as the game was only in the second of the three periods. Along the route from the airport into downtown Vancouver there was Olympic branding and Canadian flags literally everywhere – Vancouver has done an amazing job promoting the games. Even the highway road signs were flashing ‘Go Canada’. Bonkers.

As the bus reached the centre of Vancouver we passed the ice hockey venue. The game had just finished with a convincing victory for team Canada, and there were fans pouring out of the stadium onto the streets celebrating raucously. Lesson 2: Canadians love to win at ice hockey.

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Excellent conditions in Whistler

The Team February 18th, 2010

Current snowfall is continuing to add to Whistler’s epic season, with nearly 1m falling in the past 7 days and whilst these conditions aren’t ideal for the Olympians, they make for an ideal day on the mountain.

Excellent conditions in Whistler

Excellent conditions in Whistler

Hazel, one of Ski Independence’s resort reps (pictured right), told us yesterday “There is a real buzz around town, its so busy with people from all over the world, but the hill is really quiet and the snow in the alpine is amazing, which is great for all us skiers & boarders who love powder, with fresh tracks still to be found late afternoon.”

Both the men’s & women’s downhill races were nail biting, with a great 13th place finish from Team GB’s Chemmy Alcott. Chemmy was full of praise for the course. “It’s the perfect women’s downhill, the best I’ve ever skied,” she said. “And today Mother Nature did us a favour as well with the conditions. It’s bumpy, it’s icy and it’s great fun. You look at this and you think to yourself: ‘This is what we do this sport for.’ I think I could have gone quicker but I made a few silly mistakes. But it’s the Chemmy way.” Good luck to Chemmy for the super-combined today, which is one of her best events.

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Whistler Gets Ready to Welcome the World

The Team January 27th, 2010

Whistler is a mountain town getting very excited, and with good reason – the Winter Olympics are now just over two weeks away. The final touches are being made throughout the resort to welcome the world’s media and the some of planet’s very best winter sports athletes, with Whistler playing host to the alpine skiing, Nordic and sliding events at the Games. Read the rest of this entry »

Heavy Snowfall Hammers Whistler Blackcomb

Nick January 15th, 2010

Snowbase reaches 297 centimetres or 9.7 feet; well over a metre/47 inches of snow has fallen in the past seven days

The latest storm to hit Whistler Blackcomb has dumped a whopping 70 centimetres or 28 inches in 24 hours, immersing the resort in deep winter conditions. Although the heavy snow and high winds prevented a number of lifts from opening today, the forecast for clearer skies this afternoon and tomorrow bodes well for weekend skiers and riders.

Heavy Snowfall Hammers Whistler Blackcomb. Photo: Ian Robertson

Heavy Snowfall Hammers Whistler Blackcomb. Photo: Ian Robertson

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Scandinave Spa Opens in Whistler

The Team January 13th, 2010

Scandinave Spa Whistler

On 30th January the new Le Scandinave Spa Whistler will open, adding a unique, Nordic dimension to Whistler’s wellness treatment offerings.

Scandinave Spa Whistler is the first spa of its kind on the west coast of Canada. Using the age-old Finnish tradition of hydrotherapy, Scandinave Spa Whistler creates a spa experience that generates a sense of wellbeing. Nestled on the edge of Lost Lake and Spruce Grove parks, only a few minutes from Whistler Village, the baths are surrounded
by the natural beauty of Whistler.

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