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02/24/2010

Filing at 30 degrees.

Steve Russell/Staff Photographer

30 degrees!

Celsius? Close. Fahrenheit? I think we surpassed it a few times. While the that number seems plausable for temperature, its not what I mean, I'm talking about the slope of Cypress Mountain's Mogul and Aerial runs.

The three hour time difference from Toronto means that it is very important that we file pictures of the Canadian Athletes as soon as we get them.

The sooner they are back at the paper the quicker that the paper can be laid out and the website is always looking for pictures.

This adds to all the gear we carry to the Field of Play, now we always think about having the laptop with us.

We have to be ready to file from anywhere. If we cannot use the Olympic Games wireless network we use our iPhones to get the pictures back.

We do not always have the luxury of a desk, we have to improvise.

For one of my first assignments here, Moguls practise, I decided to go halfway up the hill. That position allows me to cover both jumps, one above and one below as well as the mogul section between them.

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Vincent Marquis takes off from the upper jump.

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Jennifer Heil works the moguls between the two jumps.

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Alexandre Bilodeau, who would become Canada's first gold medalist on home soil, does a back flip off the last jump   

We waited for Jennifer Heil and as time became more of an issue I was glad that I had my laptop with me. I wanted to save the five minutes it would take me to walk down the hill and five more to walk back to the Media Centre. But the question was where do I file from?

The only place was to go to the tree line and set up there to move some pictures.

The picture below does not do justice to the slope of that hill. I was worried!

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Filing from the side of a steep hill is a challenge, you have to keep your gear under control and yourself, note the crampons.

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Jennifer Heil rehearses her final jump on the hill during practice, her positioning gives you some idea on the slope of a moguls hill that was built to be favorable to Canadian Athletes.   

In the end I did not have to leave my location and made my deadlines.

The other side of the laptop question was on the night of the Women's Mogul Final.

It was pouring rain and although Rick Madonik and I would have loved to have had our laptops on the hill with us, the wet weather conditions made us decide to rethink the issue.

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A Japanese fan's face painting washes down his face in the rain at Cypress Mountain. 

It was way to early in the Olympics to have a laptop die.

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We were not prepared to subject our laptops to the elements like this inventive photographer 

That is the hardest decision to make, it means that we have to really plan our exit from the event. One of us will run, grab cards from the other and then sprint to the Media room and begin the edit and file, while the other worked the flower ceremony.

-srussell@thestar.ca

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I love the picture of Jennifer Heil on the mogul run.......I thought face shots were only found in deep powder days. She might need to put on her powder snorkel......

Steve, great shots; great story!

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