Category: Winter Olympics Guide
Our northern neighbors are gearing up for the Big Event—the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. But with venues ready to go and open for touring, there’s really no reason to wait until February to head north
Our northern neighbors are gearing up for the Big Event—the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. But with venues ready to go and an exchange rate that’s once again in our favor, there’s really no reason to wait until February to head north (and with tickets largely sold out and hotel rooms hard to come by during the festivities, pre-Games trips may be a better bet). From exploring new neighborhoods to checking out venues open now for touring (and Olympic racing slopes that will soon be covered with snow), you can head north for an Olympic-size experience long before the Games begin.
Around Vancouver: Hockey, Skating, Freestyle
Sporting event: Freestyle skiing and snowboarding
What you’ll experience: The site of freestyle skiing and snowboard events, Cypress is just a quick drive from downtown Vancouver. A new day lodge, two new high-speed quads and a full snowmaking system add luster to an area that locals have loved for years. Check out the ski and snowboard cross venues, and for those who dare: the aerial, mogul and superpipe venues. According to Joffrey Koeman, director of marketing for Cypress Mountain, public tours may be offered this winter. If you hit the slopes (the area opens for skiing and boarding around December 1), you also might catch a glimpse of the Canadian team, which has trained extensively at Cypress over the past two years. Visit during the Learn to Ski and Ride Week (January 16–24) to learn how to do a snowboard McTwist maneuver that will wow the judges.
What you’ll need: During the winter sports season, warm clothing and ski or snowboard gear (or rent on site). Cypress Mountain will be completely closed from February 1 to March 8 for the Olympics. Visit Web site for directions. 604.926.5612; cypressmountain.com
Canada Hockey Place
and UBC Thunderbird Arena
Sporting event: Hockey
What you’ll experience now: These are the primary venues for men’s and women’s hockey, respectively. The Vancouver Canucks play their regular NHL season at Canada Hockey/GM Place. Catch a game now and you’ll be sure to see someone who will end up on a 2010 Olympic team, says Harvey Jones, vice president of arena operations for the Canucks. Olympic coaches will use the regular season to help decide the final men’s roster, to be announced in December. At UBC Thunderbird Arena, you can watch future Olympians at a college varsity men’s or women’s hockey game for only $4–$10 (gothunderbirds.ca).
The Canucks (canucks.nhl.com) games are always sold out before the October–April season even starts, but you may be able to score a ticket from a third party such as Craigslist. If you’re brave enough to hit the ice yourself, visit UBC Thunderbird Arena, which offers youth and adult hockey classes (brawls not included!). Drop-in sessions for figure skating and ice-rink skating are also available.
What you’ll need: A ticket to see a Canucks game; hockey skates if you sign up for a skills class. Times and prices vary. Visit the Web site for more information. Canada Hockey/General Motors Place, 800 Griffiths Way; 604.899.4610; http://seattlemag.com/files/image/main/large/vanc_hockyplace_horiz.jpg Winter Olympics Guide
1728 October 2009 2009-09-29 18:08:00.000 Olympic Sneak Peek: Where to Spot the Athletes If you don't frequent the luge track or partake in ski cross, don't fret