Olympic ski races open to public viewing 

Pods created for skiers and boarders to catch glimpses of alpine speed events


Missed out on tickets for the Olympic alpine speed events?

Whistler Blackcomb has a unique solution. It has set up several viewing pod areas for the public along both the men's and women's 2010 alpine courses.

The top-of-the-run pods will allow watchers to see the competitors come out of the start gates.

The pods will be able to accommodate several thousand people and it is hoped that at the lower pods spectators will be able to hear the Olympic announcers to find out how the racers are doing.

"It was an idea that we had long ago," said Peter (YP) Young, Whistler Blackcomb's events manager.

"Since the mountain was going to be open and there was going to be great skiing we wanted our guests to have access to viewing on the Olympic courses so we have been having that discussion with (Olympic organizers) pretty much right from the beginning."

Neither the 2002 Salt Lake Games, nor the 2006 Torino Games had any alpine course-side viewing.

The alpine speed events are scheduled between Feb.13 and 20 for men and women.

More information on exactly where the viewing spots are can be found at whistlerblackcomb.com/Olympics. Approximately 90 per cent of Whistler and Blackcomb's runs will be open to the public during the Olympic Gams.

"It is pretty unique that this great amount of skiing is open and you will also be able to take in some of the events live," said Young.

"The great thing about the public viewing area is that if the race is delayed you can go take a few runs and then come back."

To get to the pods spectators must buy a ticket to ski or board, should be a strong intermediate skier or boarder and be prepared to walk a little bit if necessary.

There is next to no public parking in Whistler at Games time so visitors to the resort should come on one of the three public coach lines: Greyhound, Pacific Coach lines and Ridebooker.com. (If you come by car between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Games time you must have a vehicle pass to get through an inspection point at Squamish).

Watching racers live is a unique experience said Young.

"You will be able to see some good chunks of the course and see the skiers going fast and hear them going fast which is always pretty neat for people who have haven't been on the side of a course before," he said.

"The sound of skiing downhill and super G is pretty amazing."




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