Venues and Weather
Webcast Sponsors
Nations represented at the Games
Press Release
Contact Us
People at the Games
Behind the Scenes
showcase
Story Index
Audio Archive
Photo Gallery
competition
Slalom
Giant Slalom
Super Giant Slalom
Parallel Slalom
The Nicholas Cup
Nordic 3K
Nordic 1 Hour
Nordic Team Relay
Biathlon
Curling
Snowboarding Slalom
special events
Opening Ceremonies
Closing Ceremonies and Gala DInner
Medical Symposium on Transplantation + Sport
translate
previous games
2000 U.S Transplant Games webcast
1999 Winter World Transplant Games webcast
1999 World Transplant Games webcast
1997 World Transplant Games webcast
TransWeb's athletics index
 
Out of My Element


[click to enlarge]

So why is
such an utter
non-skier
covering
these events?
Just donít
ask me to
answer that
question in
French.

Story by Randy H. Milgrom
Photography by Bob Garypie and Peter Ottlakan

Six athletes have entered this morningís competition in the extreme sport of snowboarding. Of course I think itís extreme Ė Iíve spent most of this week treading unsteadily on foot, looking down at my shoes. When it hasnít been possible for me to walk from one place to another to cover an event, Iíve hitched a ride inside the front bucket of a mammoth snow-grooming tractor.

So why is such an utter non-skier covering these events? Just donít ask me to answer that question in French.

But here I come, anyway Ė up the mountainside in a tram: I canít ski, I canít speak the language, and now, suddenly, I realize Iíve forgotten the only two things that have been a comfort to me Ė my pen and my notepad.

I march off the tram rehearsing a few French phrases in my head, and after a false start or two I somehow manage to find myself standing outside with a pencil and a bunch of napkins from the restaurant cashier. The Groomer Shuttle is not running this morning, though, so even if I could walk down (an iffy proposition), Iíd have no way of getting back up. So here I stand, still within view of the tram, writing notes on napkins.

A little bit of snow fell overnight Ė which even I know is a good thing for skiing conditions Ė and just the slightest gentle touch of light snow begins anew as I lean out to look into the various skiing alleyways below. I notice a few snowboarders, who after securing their heavy boots into their bindings, just buckle up and begin their whooshing descent. These mostly younger men glide down effortlessly, leaning ever so slightly as they enjoy gravityís pull Ė hands in pockets, nearly yawning. One guy lights a match, then his cigarette, and then offers a bored exhalation of smoke in my direction as he departs.

Iím so out of my element on this mountaintop, it somehow seems fitting that Iím up way here, while the snowboarders are way down there. I breathe in and out, mulling this thought, and enjoying the view. The journalist Reg Green soon happens by, and for a long while we stare down toward the spot where we think the competition is taking place and speak idly about different topics Ė but almost always we come back to the subject of writing. We are two writers looking down upon a changing world that now seems less interested in words, and more interested in sights and sounds.

Though I donít ski, and I canít communicate with many of the athletes, Iíve done what I can this week.

And Iíve been inspired, once again, by the Transplant Games athletes, who do not take their second chances at life lightly.