COLUMN: Time to think ‘weather’ before choosing venue

If there is one thing you can say about the weather we experience here in ‘“British Columbia by the sea,” it is changeable...

If there is one thing you can say about the weather we experience here in ‘“British Columbia by the sea,” it is changeable.

One week it’s bitterly cold, another warm and wet, another with virtual whiteouts and blowing snow. Tuesday, following Monday’s incredibly treacherous driving conditions, was a magnificent ‘bluebird’ day.

We experienced similar conditions during our own 2010 Winter Olympics, hauling Interior snow to the coast to make up for the lack supplied by Mother Nature, delaying events due to rain and fog.

And we saw it again in Sochi.

Yet for some reason the IOC persists in awarding “Winter” Games to coastal cities and countries.

Vancouver, as we all know, sits on the 49th parallel. Sochi is on the 44th, which is equivalent to the central coast of Oregon, and on Sunday, the 2018 event was awarded to Korea, which for the most part is south of the 36th latitude. That’s between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Yes, there are mountains behind all of these areas, and often they provide great skiing, but they are certainly never a guarantee.

I can only imagine the heartbreak and disappointment for athletes who have committed their lives to years of training, only to see, thanks to spring-like weather conditions, their events cancelled.

Granted, for those who compete inside arenas, it matters not where Olympics are held. As more and more sports are added to ski and snowboard hills, Winter Olympic locations seem to be chosen by the IOC based more on politics than practicality.

However, regardless of the location and the ridiculously enormous cost of the Olympic Games, they do bring out the patriotic pride of a nation, and on occasion, vitriol. Both were amply displayed by Canada and the USA in hockey.

Yet for all of that, each nation should be, and for the most part is, immensely proud of their world-class athletes. For a ‘small’ nation, Canada has risen to the challenge with stunning success: 25 medals these games, 26 in 2010.

In a way though, I’m happy the Games are over. No more late nights, or an early Sunday morning to watch Canada take hockey gold. Life for now will return to normal, the euphoria of wins, the disappointment of defeat now but televised memories.

In fact, things got so normal Sunday afternoon I wished I was back in front of the TV. Returning home following the new car’s inaugural foray, its owner quietly said as I pulled up to the locked gate “You’re going to be mad!”

And why, I asked …”Because I left the gate key in the other car” (which was securely locked in the garage). Parked at the gate, I looked at the 10 inches of snow blanketing the landscape, and then at my shoes worn instead of boots to go shopping.

My gate is non-climbable (not that you should ever climb gates anyway), as is my yard fence. That left me with a 30-metre slog in snow up to mid-calf, socks soaked within the first couple of strides, to the field fence rails over which I could clamber. As I mounted the first rail and swung my leg over, an errant piece of wire snagged and ripped a 60-buck pair of jeans.

I’m certain the burst of blasphemy startled the woman who just a little further down the road was taking pretty snow-scene photos of up-until-then Sumas Mountain’s pastoral serenity.

Once over two fences it was another 30-metre wade back to the garage to recover the overlooked key and unlock the gate.

If nothing else, the walk in the wet snow gave me an appreciation for what all the kids faced in Sochi over the past couple of weeks.