Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow & ice

We missed our Monday hockey to take a 10:20 ferry for a noon meeting with Ann Phelps, Major Events Development Manager for The City of Richmond. Gord had been working on the simulation for The Ice Gate for weeks now, and it was ready. The sound of the printer in his studio (posters falling to the ground, a background whirring) was familiar. Outside, it was snowing. And cold.

It was Kiri's last day. The Oval had opened to the public on the 15th, and the offices were empty a day later.

Here’s Gord describing broad details of the proposed Ice Gate. It’s going to be 100 feet by 14 feet, extended by sculptural pieces where people can walk around, designed to fit into the landscape.

We met Kate Sparrow, Director of the Olympic Business Office. She had been on staff at the City of Calgary when Gord created a huge ice painting on the surface of the Calgary Olympic Plaza in the nineties. Arnold Guanco briefly discussed Sponsorship. Then Ann took us to lunch. (Now the sign on her door says: Watch out for Pirates).

The thing is, once we got out of Roberts Creek and into some public spaces, (in this case, a swish restaurant on the water), we realized that Christmas was in full swing.

We’ve spent the past 3 Decembers away from home, (Fenestrelle, Italy; Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario; Chicago, Illinois). It was so cold, I gave my gloves to a beggar on Robson Street. Gord handed his to a guy on Thurlow sitting on the ground in front of a telephone pole, a super warm, double thick pair, (which he used in Chicago). The guy lit up, immediately put them on.

This was the day the journalist was imprisoned for throwing his shoes at George W. It is worth noting that this one simple gesture, so harmless, seemed powerful enough to make suicide bombers obsolete. If all you have to do is throw your shoe in disgust . .

We stayed in Vancouver for supper. Art Sutherland, refrigeration guru who has worked with us since before “Pitture Sotto Zero” in Italy (2006 Olympic Winter Games), hosted.

He chose Cin Cin, a magnificent environment, which was over-the-top with ribbons, bows, white tablecloths and golden lights. Gord brought a commemorative bottle of Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine – with his artwork on the bottle, the one getting all the press these days.

Other guests: Art's long time friend Eve Marshall, Patrick Seltsam of Ice Rink Events and Mark Greenwald, Director of the Olympic Oval in Calgary. JC (crew in Italy, Ontario & Chicago) represented the local contingent. Here they are, checking out Gord’s design for The Ice Gate.

Art orders by asking the waiter to choose something. He says, “Surprise me.” This time, got some kind of fancy martini-looking drink with bourbon, and the last lamb shank in the joint. Then, four ice guys started talking ice.

Fine grain is produced by freezing it slowly, is the easiest to dig blades into, presents a ragged edge and is most difficult to break up.

Ice with longer grains is easier to snap and shatters into shapes with long, clean edges. It tends to shear in large sheets. For speed skating, they prepare the ice by scraping it down and flooding it with warm water the old fashioned way, with a hose.

Although Gord speaks of ice as crystals, it all made sense.

Of course, we ended up going on about the weather. Patrick said he likes it cold: minus one degrees, sunny, dry, no wind. JC replied, “I totally agree with you. That, plus 30 degrees and a warm breeze and I’m right there with you.”

Then today: more white, falling softly. The plows were in short supply on the Sunshine Coast and at 3 pm we heard they’d closed the highway. So we chopped wood, made a fire and got our press release ready for an announcement this week!

When we got back, a fluorescent stickie announced, "Erik is down for 2010". Yipee! We heard from Matt Hotz, too.

Here's Judith Berlin, landscape architect earlier discussing the site chez nous.

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