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Administrative error disrupts opening ceremonies in Whistler

Organizers of the opening ceremonies in Vancouver weren't the only ones who experienced technical difficulties last Friday night. While the cauldron in B.C.

Organizers of the opening ceremonies in Vancouver weren't the only ones who experienced technical difficulties last Friday night.

While the cauldron in B.C. Place Stadium was struggling because of an issue with the hydraulic system, resulting in one arm refusing to lift, Whistler was scrambling to rectify its own issues during the broadcast of the ceremonies.

Many of the spectators who braved the rain to watch the broadcast of the opening ceremonies on the big screen in Village Square were left out in the cold when the Whistler Live! production team suddenly lost the TV feed.

While hosts Devon Soltendieck and Ru Matsui managed to keep the crowd from getting too restless the outage lasted almost 20 minutes. And when they finally managed to get the feed back it was the French broadcast and the parade of athletes was well into the "G" countries. Then, the feed went down for a second time before it was finally fully restored.

John Rae, executive director of Whistler Live!, explained that the problems Friday night actually weren't technical, they were due to a human error from someone outside of their own organization.

"It was one of those strange things that if we had imagined that such a thing would happen, we would have planned for it," Rae said. "It was almost humourous in what a minor technical issue it ended up being, because it wasn't technical at all, it ended up being administrative."

Rather, one of their suppliers of satellite equipment and feeds accidentally deleted the Whistler Live! account while doing some "administrative housekeeping."

"We had a strong signal until that second - there wasn't a hint of concern, technologically," Rae said.

"...Certainly, apologies for any inconvenience during the march of the athletes, but I think what they can take solace in and reassurance about is that was the most remarkable demonstration of expertise, professionalism and agility on the part of the crack team of program, creative and technical people that are working on Whistler Live! that if anything, that baptism by fire shows that if that happens to us, we can do anything!"

There was also a hiccup with Whistler Live!'s first Fire & Ice Remix performance, which was to have taken place on Saturday, Feb. 13. This time, however, human error wasn't to blame: it was all Mother Nature's fault.

"Early evening, just for really safety and landing conditions, we just thought in inclement weather, no one was going to enjoy standing out in that torrential rainstorm, and it was just a bad guest experience for our inaugural Fire and Ice Remix," Rae explained.

Instead, they cancelled the skiing and snowboarding portion of the event, which sees top instructors from the Whistler Blackcomb ski and snowboard schools hucking off of a massive jump and flying through three flaming hoops. They moved the featured DJ for the evening, Kid Koala, indoors to the GLC to perform.

"From our perspective, anything that we're doing that requires really, essentially high-level athletic competition, it's safety first," Rae said.

Despite this slightly rocky start, Rae said he is pleased with the way the Whistler Live! programming has rolled out, so far.

"I'm also really impressed with the programming and how eclectic it is... but it still feels very cohesive," Rae said. "It's an adventure as you walk up and down the stroll."


Disco dancing in the Upper Village

Don't be fooled by the absence of sound at Merlin's next Saturday night. There may not be a lot of noise, but there's sure to be one hell of a party going on as this Upper Village apres hotspot plays host to Whistler's second-ever Silent Disco.

The first Silent Disco, held during last year's Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, was an instant hit with the partygoing people. The event sees people plugging into individual headsets and tuning into simultaneous DJ sets on alternative channels. With DJs Mat the Alien, Metal and Canosis set to take the decks, it won't matter what frequency you're tuned into - you'll be dancing late into the night.

Tickets to the Silent Disco are $10 at Merlin's. See if you can guess what your dance partner is dancing to!