Cypress Mountain Adventure: Men's Halfpipe Event

Trip Start Feb 14, 2010
Trip End Feb 21, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On Wednesday, Diane and Meredith and I headed to Cypress Mountain to take our minds off skating for at least a day, spend some time outdoors and experience a sport other than skating. I'm so glad Diane researched the options and talked us into joining her on this side trip.

I left delta after 9am which for my standards, as you know, was obscenely late. Then I took a cab from downtown to the house the girls were renting. From there we continued on to the Capilano University where the Olympic buses were leaving from. To my delight, when we got here we were greeted by the Salvation Army volunteers offering free coffee and hot chocolate. Sweet! The trip to the mountains couldn't have started any better than that!

As soon as we got onto the bus it was quite obvious that the demographics of the snowboarding fans were *slightly* different to what we're used to being around skating. Yes, you guess it right, no knitting involved! Other than that, get the idea. ;)

The drive up the mountains was spectacular with amazing view on the water and downtown Vancouver. And with the beautiful weather we had that da made it even better as the visibility was incredible. The problems started when our bus broke down after about 15 minutes. But at least we had some more time to enjoy the vistas. The replacement bus arrived sooner than we expected and next thing we knew, we arrived at the Cypress Mountain!

We had to walk to the grandstand for about 15 minutes. On the way we had to go through security and pass a number of perky Canadian volunteers majority of whom where confused to hear me answer 'Toronto' to their never ending "where are you from?" questions? Why, because I was wearing my US flag (thank you, Gosia) wrapped around my shoulders. Haha!

Once we arrived at the bottom of the grandstand we realized we're basically only half way there, literally as we still had to survive gazillion stairs to reach our seats. Let me just say we got there... eventually...

Other than the already mentioned demographics, there were some interesting things we noticed about the event right away. First, aside from the halfpipe and the other venues at Cypress there was hardly any snow around. Spring Games sounds more like it! Also, having watched halfpipe on TV I never expected it to be so big and steep. It was a blast being a part of the colourful crowd cheering the riders on. The Dutch fans were the loudest and best prepared overall with banners, costumes. Check out the photo. Compared to them we looked quite boring in our team USA outfits as there were hundreds of people who had the same idea.

It's hard to comment on the event itself as I don't want to sound more silly than I do when I talk about skating. ;) To be honest with you, I know nothing about halfpipe and I was just enjoying watching it, oohhing and ahhing at all the successful elements and going "Aww!" for the falls, waving the flag, and so on. It was fun to watch, that's all I can say. Being totally clueless, I could still appreciate the ease Shawn White has to his riding and how he makes everything he does out there so easy!

One of my favourite things about how the event was run was having two very laid back announcers who not only introduced the riders but also gave some background info on them as well as live commentary during their rides. It was helpful and helped understand some technical issues to some extent. Also, the music was great! Apparently, the athletes pick their own music to be played during their run. Loved so many of the choices as they're all powerful and energetic. For some bizarre reason, "Seven Nation Army" by White Stripes was one of the more powerful choices and we heard it everywhere we went that day. We were convinced it was a message from the Skate Gods. Some of you might now why... ;)

At the end of the day, we were tired and frozen but also really happy to have made that trip. Now we're relaxed and ready to face the events of the following day.

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