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03/15/2010

Snow laden clouds have Silver Lining for Canada.

David Cooper - Chief Photographer

Wet Snow that never stops!!!

I had to put on my full mountain-top gear to walk five minutes to cover the medal ceremony last night! It has been snowing a wet gentle snow continuously since yesterday at noon. The cameras seem to be taking it better than me. Canon gave out rain covers to all the Photogs at the Olympics and Bernie Weil, who did a great job at Alpine, gave me one of his. Thanks Bernie! Johnny Hayward, the west coast shooter for Canadian Press said yesterday that since he arrived in Vancouver a few years ago he has bought $8,000 worth of Gortex. I think he was exagerating for effect, but, maybe not. Coastal mountain climate, I almost wish it was colder so the snow would be dry... almost.

DC_OLY74
 Josh Dueck of Canada receives his Silver Medal in the Men's Slalom - Sitting at Whistler Medals Plaza.

Packing all the gear up the chairlift can be tricky. The most important thing is to beaner (eds note, Coop means carabiner) everthing on so it can't fall. Johnny Hayward thought I looked like Steve Russell with all his stuff.

I took the 500mm, 300mm, two Mark IV's and all the shorter lenses in the ThinkTank roller. Then a backpack for the laptop, a Newswear vest for all the stuff, like a 1.4x extender and a lot of microfiber cloths, and the rain cover for the 500mm.

The morning was sunny... for a while, but, I've learn not to trust that. The first runs were in backlit sunshine. They were pretty good.  Since I was learning what to expect for the second run (the final) I shot a lot of frames just tracking them and seeing where they stopped and where they looked. The trouble was that there are TWO SCOREBOARDS one on either side of the finish. So they skiers would look at one or the other. 

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 Viviane Forest #10 and guide Lindsay Debou of Canada won Silver in the final  run of the Women's Slalom - Visually Impaired. 

In the afternoon the snow started to come down hard. We got wet. The cameras got wet, and the pictures got worse because of the poor visability. I had been standing in the photo area to the skiers right. This was a large area during the Olympics but not full at all now. Halfway through the final it was looking like a better bet to go to the other side. So I hiked around the bottom to the smaller photo area on the skiers left. Trouble is, it was full. At the very end a Japanese Photographer was just standing waiting. I asked if I could go in behind him and he said the Japanese skier was coming soon. I Said, "Canadian skier afterward?"  He said OK. That gave me a high corner spot to shoot with just a minute to spare and sure enough the best pictures of Josh Dueck  winning silver were from that side. I used the 500mm. I had NO time to switch to the 300mm (it would have been better and safer) and made pictures of him as he swept thru arms raised.

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Josh Dueck of Canada wins the Silver Medal in the Men's Slalom - Sitting at Whistler Creekside.

All in all it was a fabulous day on the mountain. I have not covered an alpine event for a long time. I almost missed this one. The office was debating sending us to Revelstoke for the Avalanche. (500km by road through the mountains). I'm glad I got to stay.

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Viviane Forest #10 and guide Lindsay Debou of Canada finished in 2nd spot after the first run of the Women's Slalom - Visually Impaired. They would win silver.

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Colette Bourgonje won the first Paralympic medal for Canada, a silver in the 10km sit-ski cross-country. 

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Viviane Forest and guide Lindsay Debou (left) of Canada receive their Silver medals for the Women's Slalom - Visually Impaired. 

-dcooper@thestar.ca


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