Ski delays, but no wet monkeys
WHISTLER, B.C. – So, where are the monkeys?
It’s certainly nothing new for Olympic ski races to be postponed. A certain chill-out factor is needed here and not strictly for the weather. Yes, it has been mushy and rainy and mostly miserable, weather-wise, but the races will get started sooner or later, perhaps as early as Monday morning given the forecast for Sunday overnight here.
The last time there was this kind of delay was in 1998 at Nagano, Japan, when the men’s downhill was scratched four days in a row because of overabundant fog, if memory serves. I can clearly recall getting up in Nagano one morning at 5 a.m. to grab the 6 a.m. bus and rode it the 2 ½ hours up to Hakuba, which was the name of the mountain.
We pulled into the parking lot outside the media centre in pouring rain and this little volunteer got on the bus, turned and faced everyone, bowed, held up her arms and crossed her wrists, the local sign for That’s All, Folks! Then she got off the bus, the driver closed the door and turned the bus around and we began the 2 ½ hours the other way. Not even a squirt stop.
That was living the high life, for sure, except that at some point on the journey, the bus went through something called Hell Valley, which was like a wild monkey park. These macaques, or snow monkeys, lived free and you could see them flipping through the trees and so on. I don’t remember which part of the trip it was, but it was the part you didn’t try to sleep on. The thing about the monkeys was that the state built them hot springs and pools to play in, trying to keep them from plunking themselves into local residents’ hot tubs.
This town, of course, has no monkeys. It does have bears and things with antlers and soft brown eyes that people like to shoot. It’s also no more than 15 minutes riding the bus down to Creekside to grab the chair-lift up to the finish line. Here’s hoping we won’t be making even that dry run again these Games.