Our  hero Joe checks in again.

This was our most physically taxing day yet.  We got up early to catch a charter bus at the airport.  It took a lot longer to get out of the city than we had hoped for.  The bus had to stop downtown as well, and people were walking up to the bus to try to buy tickets.  We bought our tickets for hundreds of dollars last summer, and they were allowing people to walk up and buy tickets for the same price, delaying our departure.  Luckily, our hotel was first on the list of drop-offs.

Because the alpine events were going on behind our hotel at Whistler, the area was limited entry and we had to catch a van from a spot lower in town.  Arriving at the hotel, our room wasn’t ready, so we had to leave our bags.  We are doing a heliskiing trip tomorrow, so we had to take our ski boots and check in for it a day early at the bottom of the main hill.

From our hotel, we caught a shuttle bus to the main base of Whistler.  There we checked in for our helicopter trip and then waited in line for the gondola to the Whistler Sliding Centre.  Approaching the village, the line looked extremely long.  It stretched all the way through a queue and into the shops and restaurants at the base.  Despite the length, it only took about 30 minutes to get on.

After arriving at the top, we were greeted with another long line, this time snaking through the snow at the bottom of a ski run.  I was glad I brought my water-proof hiking boots.  We went through security after standing in the snow for 40 minutes, now becoming pros by putting all our metal in our jackets and sending those through on the x-ray belts.  We were immediately greeted by the electric crowd and rumbling of the sleds pounding down the track.  We first ventured into the last turns, dubbed Thunderbird by the Canadians and “50/50” by the Americans because “it’s 50% you crash, 50% you don’t.”  After taking a few shots, we realized just how fast they go.  RIDICULOUSLY FAST!  I mean, you blink, you miss it, even on a big turn like that.  You have less than a second to get a good shot of the racers.

We then headed up the track toward the top.  It took us all of the 3rd Heat (first of the day) to get to the top.  We took pics all along the way, and stopped and watched quite a bit.  We snapped pics where the Georgian luger was killed (at the very bottom) and the different starting points for luge and women’s events along the way.  There was even a camera in the ice to get the sleds as the go over.  After getting to the top, there was another queue for the grand stands at the starting line.  We decided it would be good to get a seat there to watch the start in person and the rest of the race on the big screen.  It took about 40 minutes to get through that line, but got to watch the race while waiting for the last 10 minutes.  There was a 45 minute break between heats.

It was so exciting to cheer on both USA teams, and even more so to see the good guys win the gold.  A very energetic crowd, all the way down the track.  We then headed back down the track, which took 20 minutes, waited in line in the snow for the gondola, which took 25 minutes, and then did some shopping to avoid the other line to get on the bus.  Olympic items were already on sale here in Whistler, so we got some good deals on official merchandise.

A stop to get beer and a short bus ride back to the hotel to get into our room concluded the day on the mountain.  We walked across the street from the lodge and grabbed some darn good BBQ at Bob’s.  They were already taking down fencing and banners around the mountain, and most of the crowd we battled were no where to be found.  A nice relaxing day.

We have now concluded the Olympic portion of our trip, and are going to check out the skiing for the next three days.  I am so excited since it’s been snowing for almost a week.  Should be EPIC!

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