Anthony on , , 21 Mar 2010 12:43 pm

On Saturday, we packed up the kids and headed to Whistler to take in some Paralympic Alpine events. There were some events scheduled for Sunday, but the weather forecast was such that VANOC moved the Sunday events to Saturday. This was good for us as it mean that we were able to see the men and women’s nordic combined events: Super-G and Slalom for standing, sitting, and visually impaired.

I’ll spare you the story of getting there. Suffice it to say that Quinlan makes the third member of the family who gets carsick, and we had an unscheduled visit to Wal*Mart and Shopper’s Drug Mart.

Getting to the venue involved driving to a parking lot well south of Whister, then taking a shuttle coach to the bottom of Whistler Creekside.


From there, we were fortunate to be able to take the “accessible” shuttle to the venue site (a significant walk, up the mountain for most). Having the baby on my back apparently qualified us. After seeing the walk people were taking, I didn’t mind taking the bus at all.

The venue was very impressive. The grandstands were at the bottom of the ski run, with the incredibly steep final slope right in front of us.


We had a pretty good view of the last part of the skier’s runs, and what we couldn’t see was shown to us on a giant screen.



The crowd was quite excited too! There were lots of international fans. The loudest and most stand-out were the Germans and Japanese.



With the kids, we were a bit more reserved.


The performance of the athletes was nothing short of awe-inspiring. I can’t imaging going the speeds they do going on one ski, a sit-ski, or BLIND. Incredible.



As part of the event, they had set up an area where kids (and adults) could try out some of the Paralympic equipment.

Aidan got to try out the cross-country sit-ski, and had a great time with it!



Aidan and Gwen got to play a little bit of sledge hockey too!




And finally, as we were leaving the venue (a bit early because the kids were restless, bored, and hungry) we saw William Elliot, QC, the Commissioner of the RCMP (ie the top of the RCMP org chart). He had quite the colour guard with him. As an aside, there have been tonnes of Red Serges at all the events. Nothing wrong with showing the colours, making the tourists forget about the less-uniformed security.


A pretty good day for only $15 per ticket! The Paralympics were excellent value, and this was reflected by the number of people with kids at all the events. It’s a shame that it doesn’t get more media exposure.

Anthony on , , , 14 Mar 2010 04:39 pm

I’ll do an Olympics recap post over the next week or so. Suffice it to say it kept us supremely busy.

The Paralympics are in full swing and today Aidan and I went to a sledge hockey game: Canada vs Sweden.

Getting into the venue was a completely opposite experience to what we had during the Olympics. There was no line up. There was no bag search. There were no metal detectors.

There was, however, Sumi posing with his adoring public.

Aidan and Sumi

The game took place in the new UBC Thunderbird Arena, a 7,000 seat arena built just for the Olympics and Paralympics. It replaced an aging facility that needed replacement anyway. It’s a rather nice building. Being a small arena, there are no bad seats and here’s the pre-game view from ours:

In our seats before the game

In sledge hockey, all the players sit in sleds supported in the middle by a single skate-like blade and there’s a small support at the front to provide a bit more support. The players use two sticks to propel themselves along the ice, and the sticks double as hockey sticks for shooting and passing.


The game is VERY physical, with many collisions knocking players to the ice or sending them caroming across the ice into the boards. The game was rather lopsided, and the Swedes started showing signs of being a bit dejected. Here’s a shot a post-goal celebration/mourning starting:

GOAL Canada!

In what was one of the best sights of the afternoon, all the (able-bodied) refs knelt down and gave both teams high-fives and fist-bumps. This was, of course, after the two teams had shaken hands at the end of the game. Can you imagine the NHL doing such a thing?

Fist bump!

Also very cool — Team Canada spent quite a bit of time at centre ice after the game acknowledging the crowd. Home ice sure is nice, huh guys?

Thanking the crowd

On a side note, we got a new camera after the Olympics and before the Paralympics (barely) so all these pics have been taken with our new Canon T2i. Sure does a nice job!