Thursday, January 07, 2010

36 days 'til the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

The Official Countdown Clock sits atop massive blocks of cast concrete in the heart of downtown Vancouver at the Georgia Street Plaza near the Vancouver Art Gallery. Two electronic displays count down the hours, minutes and seconds remaining until the Opening Ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Photo taken on June 16, 2008 by Sue Frause.
I'm sure there were many moments of "Uh, oh!" as the Olympic countdown clock conked out in Vancouver, BC on a recent evening.

Not to worry. The outage was caused by a major electrical upgrade in downtown Vancouver, but the clock got back on track when power was restored. If that's the only glitch between now and the 36 days until the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on Feb. 12, organizers will be breathing huge sighs of relief.

There is no shortage of news stories about the upcoming Winter Games. USA Today is making noise on Twitter with its recent article that's being re-tweeted: Winter Olympics will highlight new US border requirements. Yes, bring your passport, even if you're driving.

The other news is there is room at the inn. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler has accommodations during the Winter Games that run through Feb. 28, 2010. And downtown Vancouver hotels also have space, as reported on the CTV Olympics website.

As with any Olympics, there's no lack of chatter and controversy. Tongues are wagging about the Alberta Train, chartered by Alberta for shuttling invited folks between Vancouver and Whistler aboard one of Rocky Moutaineer's luxury trains.

The Rocky Mountaineer was in the spotlight in 2009 when The Bachelorette's Jillian Harris rode the rails between Vancouver, BC and Banff, Alberta.

Although I won't be attending the Olympics, I've been invited to a media event hosted by Tourism Switzerland at the House of Switzerland in Vancouver. It's being incorporated into Bridges restaurant on Granville Island during the Winter Games; there will also be a House of Switzerland at Whistler. It's one of the few national guest centers at the Olympic Games open to the public.

I expect to eat fondue, chocolate and catch some of the Olympic action on a big-screen TV. Maybe do a little yodeling, too.

Related article: Hotels race to finish before Olympics (Vancouver Sun)