Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flying through the air

Work in the office over the past few days was rather dull, but my time outside the office was AWESOME.

On Wednesday night, we had a meeting with Paul Lovett (the head of Cleanevent). He just wanted to check in and make sure that we were all getting a lot out of our experience here. He also told us that he has contacts at venues all over the world, and that upon completion of this program, he'll be happy to put us in touch with them. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to get to know him and work for him--he's an incredible contact to have. He also said that there would be many opportunities if we wanted to work with the company again...World Cup 2010 anyone?? While the functional area of snow cleaning and waste is of almost no interest to me, this internship is turning out to be an awesome opportunity.

I spend Friday at the Athletes Village, which is absolutely incredible. In the morning, I helped VANOC with workforce checkin. It's interesting to see how well they take care of their volunteers--great uniforms, meals during shifts, prizes after a certain number of shifts's a great strategy. While the uniforms seem expensive at $700-800 each, it is significantly less costly than hiring a staff. Afterwards, I just got to explore the village by myself for a while. There is a full medical center, residential areas for 3500 athletes, a DVD lounge, a gameroom, a high-performance gym, a stage for concerts, a post office and bank...It literally has EVERYTHING they could need. I got some great pictures but can't post them until after the Games because of security reasons. Most of it is SO pretty--I thought the whole place was amazing until I had the chance to tour it again with Craig Madigan (the project manager for Cleanevent's Whistler 2010). He pointed out a lot of areas that could be improved from the athlete's perspective. While most of the village is spectacular, the weakest part also happens to be the most important: the first view of the village from the athletes' entrance. It is uninspiring and rather boring, but hopefully is being improved upon ASAP. On Friday, Team Canada and Team Great Britain became the first athletes to arrive.

Today, Sarah and I went ziplining. I am absolutely shocked that I wasn't terrified, considering that I don't even like rollercoasters. But somehow, hanging 200 feet above the ground, moving nearly 80 km/hour was the most awesome thing! I even hung upside down for one of the lines. The tour we did including 5 ziplines (one that was 2000 feet long!) between Blackcomb and Whistler mountains and had several suspension bridges and tree-fort type structures. It was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced :-) the company that runs the tours is called Ziptrek, and calls them "eco-tours". Everything is set up to be sustainable and not interfere with the ecosystem, which is actually a very rare type of rainforest. I had no idea that rainforests even existed in Canada!

Tomorrow starts the shifts we'll be running through the Olympics. I'll be working Mondays and Fridays from 2 PM-11 PM; Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 5 AM-2 PM; and have Tuesdays and Saturdays free to either take off or visit a venue. Based on this schedule, I'll get to see some great events during the Games--both competition events at all the venues and concerts at Celebration Plaza. Right now, it looks like I'll get to see All American Rejects, The Fray, and Usher...for free...on top of that, snowboarding, ski jump, bobsled and luge (probably medal events)...for free. This experience is just unbelievable.

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