Who would have thought it…

07/12/2010

…but I am wearing my Vancouver 2010 volunteer’s blue jacket almost every day because of the on-going winter weather in Scotland.  I have many other jackets but I like wearing my blue jacket best because I can layer and it had loads of pockets for my bits and pieces.

It is currently midnight and it is -16 degrees in Edinburgh.  We haven’t had a winter like this since 1963, although experts say it may be longer than that.  We have had record amounts of snow, continued low temperatures for almost two weeks and, other than a forecasted balmy few days this coming weekend, it is to be like this until the end of the year at least!

I love this weather but it has been having a significant effect on my travel to work.  On a couple of days last week I took public transport and it took two buses and 2.5 hours from door to door, and back again.  I like walking in the snow and love taking photos.

Winter Wonderland

Some days I have more Olympic gear on than you could buy in the Olympic Superstore – today I had on a white 2010 Olympic toque; my volunteer’s blue jacket and ski pants; my Canadian Olympic scarf and the famous red mittens.  All that’s missing are my winter boots which happen to be lying in a cupboard in my cousin’s house in Vancouver!!!  Who’s idea was it to leave them behind until the next visit…oh yeah, it was mine!

 

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On the radio today

11/02/2010

I have just been interviewed live on Radio Scotland.  This has been in the planning for a few days and finally happened this morning.  I was asked about the snow conditions at Cypress and Whistler, the kind of work I have been doing as a volunteer and what I thought of the Opening Ceremony dress rehearsal.  I kept shtum about the OC but I said the snow at Cypress had improved overnight and that the athletes and officials were happy with the Olympic runs for snowboarding and freestyle skiing.

While I was being interviewed my cousin Margaret was listening to me on Radio Scotland’s online channel.  How technology has changed since I first visited Canada, when it took me about 2 weeks to find out the football results or never knowing the news from back home unless it was an important piece of news and it made the headlines on the Canadian network.

Today I am going Downtown Vancouver to have a walk about the pavilions and see the action.  Then tonight Margaret and I are going out to see the Torch Relay on the penultimate day of its run across Canada.  The weather right now is a bit driech so hopefully it will improve by then.


Whistler-Blackcomb

09/02/2010

I have just been up Whistler-Blackcomb.  I took the gondola up Whistler then took the Peak to Peak gondola over to Blackcomb. The weather today is absolutely amazing and the views from the top were stunning.

Time passed too quickly and I wish I could have stayed much longer but volunteer shift was waiting on me.

Inuksuk on Whistler

Whistler-Blackcomb

Whistler-Blackcomb: Peak to Peak


3 days to go and still no snow falling

09/02/2010

Another stunning day in Whistler.  The sun was out, blue sky with enough of a breeze for the flags in the Village to billow.  Up until about 4pm I think most folk were walking about without jackets.  When the sun goes down it does get chilly and sometimes the toque is required.

I think I am snow jinx!  I love the snow and where I live we don’t usually get a great deal.  Although, this year we did get more than I have seen in a very long time.  Since I got here there has been very little snow here in Whistler, maybe a few centimetres.  On Cypress Mountain down in Vancouver the conditions are that bad snow is having to be trucked in, dumped by helicopter or bull-dozed from stock-piles on the other side of the mountain to make the snowboarding and freestyle runs.

After my shift finished at 11:00 and I was walking home from the bus stop I looked up to see the stars shining very brightly in the clear sky.  Where I am staying in Creekside there is not very much street lighting, it reminds me of Sedona, Arizona where there is the minimum of street lighting on purpose.  It makes it possible to see the stars clearly without interference from man-made lighting.

Olympic Village Welcome Centre

Yesterday I had a new job in the Daily Arrivals Hall.  The Daily Arrivals is the main area where athletes and officials enter the Village through the security area.  Many coming in are already in residence in the Village and returning from training at venues.  However, we are still welcoming guests to the Village as teams continue to arrive for the first time.  Yesterday, we welcomed guests representing Austria, Peru, Switzerland, India and GB.  We would assist them with their luggage, taking them to their accommodation by truck or on the Village shuttle.

One of the most interesting arrivals yesterday was the first alpine skier from Iran to compete at the Winter Games.  Marjon Kalhor will compete in the Alpine Slalom and Grand Slalom.

I enjoy seeing the variety of colour around the Village, whether it be the dressing on the buildings or the clothing the athletes wear.  In yesterday’s blog entry I mentioned how smart the US team looks in their gear, today it is the Czech team.  You can’t miss the Czech team in their very colourful outfits, particularly the patterned trousers/pants.  I like it.  It maybe a bit loud but I like the colours and the effort the designers have put into the uniform.

I am going try to take a photo of all the interesting team uniforms, some do look a tad dull but most are colourful/smart.  Here is the Czech team’s Village uniform:

Czech team uniform


One week to go!! And the Torch arrives in Whistler

05/02/2010

As I look out my bedroom window this morning there are big white snowflakes falling from the sky.  Apparently it has been snowing since 4am and 3cms have fallen already.

Today is an exciting day here in Whistler…the Olympic Torch arrives. The Torch Relay has been all over Canada and is now only seven days from Vancouver and the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Games.

I have a day off from my Olympic volunteering today so I signed up to be a volunteer at the Torch celebrations here in Whistler.  I am going to be a ‘stager’ but I have no idea what that means, I will tell you tomorrow.  All I can tell you is that I am so excited to be involved in such a once in a lifetime experience.

Yesterday was a long day but a good one one.  I had an interesting responsibility, it was my job to check in the equipment used by the athletes competing in the biathlon.

I had to ensure the delivery of the equipment to the appropriate secure area.  The athletes would then come to check that their equipment was in good order following  delivery and I would then issue them with a key for their lockers.  I had to deal with the athletes from Belarus, China, Moldovia and Poland.  It was something I had never done before and was interesting, and challenging when it came to understanding one another!

As I was indoors much of the day I didn’t see or do much else therefore photo opportunities were few.  These are a few I did take:

Whistler

Flags

Athletes Village Welcome Centre


10 days to go

02/02/2010

Snowing in Whistler

I woke this morning to a light covering of snow and it looked very pretty. By the time I was going out the snow had stopped and it was actually quite mild.  Mind you I was dressed from head to toe in my new Olympic volunteer’s uniform and I was very cosy.

All volunteers have been provided with a ski-type jacket, padded ski trousers, a gilet (vest), two long sleeved t-shirts and a toque hat.  I like the clothing, the colour is a nice shade of blue.  The toque (beanie hat) I will get used to.

Today had my first job specific training session, a lot of which is just commonsense, and we were all given a CPR Anytime kit!  I hope I never have to give CPR to anyone.

At the training I met another Commonwealth Games friend.  Todd Allison is one of the Village’s team leaders and I have known him since the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.  I am looking forward to working with Todd again.

My new friend

After the training was over I went for a bit of a recce around the Village, to find out what was where.  I walked the perimeter of the Village, which is quite the expanse.  The athletes accommodation is very nice from the outside, made from wood and in a variety of designs.  I passed where Team GB will stay and I dropped in to say hello and they kindly gave me a team pin.

Team GB HQ

Other than the Team GB office, I am not going to post any photos of the Village at this time because I don’t believe it would be proper before the arrival of the athletes.  I will say however, that they should have great time in the Village and they will be well looked after.


10 days to go and it is snowing in Whistler

02/02/2010

I woke this morning to find it snowing.  The place looks very picturesque and I can’t wait to get out in it.  I am about to don my 2010 volunteer’s uniform for the first time and attend a training session in the Athletes Village.  More to come later, just had to report about the snow.