Today Show host says Canada is ‘just beautiful’ 

Her feet were frozen because she was wearing high heels but Sami Lukis was still sporting a smile when she came off Whistler Mountain last Sunday.

Lukis had just finished nine live weather broadcasts for one of Australia’s most popular breakfast television programs, Channel Nine’s Today Show, and by all accounts it was a resounding success.

Lukis interviewed mountain biker Richie Schley and Crazy Canuck Steve Podborski. Trials rider Kevin Shaler performed live and the ever-popular ZipTrek tours also featured in the presentation.

Lukis said the last time the Today Show came to Canada, in 2001, it was a "huge ratings success" and they were expecting the same result this time.

"Canadians are fantastic, the scenery is beautiful and it’s like Steve Podborski said: there’s no language barrier and the culture’s similar here so most Aussies can have a lot of fun," said Lukis.

While most seasonal Australian workers have either left Whistler or are just starting to trickle into town, there was still a healthy group of them at the Roundhouse for the broadcast.

Despite the snow, some were wearing thongs and T-shirts, drinking beer and, later in the afternoon, about 40 of them fought over 15 pies the Roundhouse staff baked especially for the occasion.

"It’s always a bit of a lottery with these broadcasts but thanks to the Aussies who came out and also made an effort to make signs and dress up," said Lukis.

"One bloke had boxer shorts on his head, we had boxing kangaroo flags and another guy came out with his thongs, that’s just great."

One of Channel Nine’s producers, Linton Besser, said the Today Show had been researching this trip to Canada for six weeks.

While Lukis has spent most of her time in Western Canada, the show’s news presenters, Steve Liebmann and Tracy Grimshaw, have been broadcasting from Montreal, Toronto and areas surrounding those cities.

"Logistically it’s a lot of work, we had a lot of people come over doing some forward scouting," said Besser.

"And there’s obviously a huge team over in Eastern Canada – about 30 of us all together – doing the same thing over there with Steve and Tracy."

While this trip was about showing off Canada, if only for a few days, political analysts around the world will be focussing on Australia next month when federal elections are held on Oct. 9.

Besser said this election should interesting because Labor, Australia’s traditional opposition party, has a very animated leader in Mark Latham.

"I think it’s going to be pretty tough for Latham to win now after the Jakarta bombing, but at least it’s a bit more interesting to watch than the last election.

"You know, Latham having called (Prime Minister John) Howard an ass-licker and a turkey, it’s just a matter of waiting for him to bring out another one."

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