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2010 Olympic Cross-Country Ski Course Crew #1 - Prologue
By:  Peter Czerny   (2010/02/13)

Read all of Peter's - XC Course Crew Updates: Prologue, Stage 1 , Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, Finish Line

I am so thrilled to be at the Whistler Olympic Park helping out on the course crew for the cross-country ski events for the Winter Games. I applied to be a Games time volunteer in the summer of 2009 and was placed in a general pool of names for the Vancouver Organizing Committee who have had the challenge of organizing a workforce of some 25,000 people, but my goal was to be able to contribute to the Nordic events given my love of the same. Thanks to generous friends offering me a place to stay in Pemberton, an understanding partner and kids willing to support this dream, and some friendly advice from Nakkertok’s master groomer Dirk, I got in touch with the cross-country event organizers who had course crew positions to fill and were willing to draw me from the volunteer pool.

With my Olympic plans in place, I joined the course crew at the Eastern Canadian Championships held at Nakkertok at the end of January. The role consisted of setting up flags and ‘v-boards’ to mark the course, doing some handy shovel work around icy patches and being stationed at the bottom of some two different hills (that could be called ‘screamers’ at race pace) in case some quick trail work was needed.

Based on that weekend and a number of previous competition roles here are the top ten reasons I think it’s great to be on a cross-country ski course crew:

  1. being up early enough to see a winter dawn break across the
  2. getting to ski first tracks on perfectly groomed trails
  3. learning the art of ‘v-board’ placement by taking a racer’s perspective in the mind’s eye
  4. feeling the anticipation of the start of racing, the count-down to show time!
  5. witnessing the spectacle of the skiers flying by, pushing their own limits and inspiring us to do the same
  6. seeing local ski scene heroes and national legends
  7. the stories that come out of those around while the race roars by
  8. the novelty of being outside all day (for those of us who tend to be indoors most of the time)
  9. being part of a group pulling together to make something good happen
  10. having the chance to share the experience with anyone who will listen!

Now the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games have started, and moments of tragedy and triumph have already become known. I am set to play my very small part in this great endeavor and will be sending a few updates over the next two weeks to share some impressions and to see if the top-ten list holds up.

Cheers from beautiful British Columbia, Peter Czerny

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