Getting down with Eddie the Eagle

//Getting down with Eddie the Eagle

ski-jump.jpgNow I know how Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards must have felt when he took part in the 1988 Winter Olympics. I stood at the top of the 90 metre ski jump at the Calgary Olympic Park today and stared down . . . and down . . . and down.
I wasn’t wearing skis, and the hill and the landing area are now overgrown with grass. But it was still scary up there in the early morning chill. Imagine the butterflies that must have been raging in Eddie’s stomach when he took it upon himself to challenge the world’s best, his previous experience amounting to little more than jumping off a shed roof.
No wonder his best effort, at 71 metres, was less than half the distance of the best jump on the hill.
The jump, and the smaller ones on either side, are rarely used in competition now because of cross winds. But they are still used for training, and the serpentine bobsleigh course in the park – remembered for the Jamaican team’s exploits dramatised in the film Cool Runnin’ – is in regular use both for races against the clock and for daredevil members of the public who want to have a go.
Eddie’s heroic failure is still appreciated here, and he was welcomed back a couple of years ago to mark the 20th anniversary of the games. Instead of donning skis, he took a zipwire ride down his hill, reaching speeds of more than 100 kph. Sadly that was not operating today either, or I would have been able to report back on my own ride.
The park was the first stop on my tour of the Canadian Rockies with Princess Cruises, a precursor to the Alaska cruise which starts on Saturday.
There are 35 of us from all over the UK travelling on a luxury coach which this afternoon delivered us to the postcard-perfect town of Banff on the edge of the Rockies, and for the next two nights our base is the Rimrock Hotel, perched above the Bow River valley and with spectacular views of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain.
We’ve had our breath taken away by some amazing scenery and there’s no doubting why these are called the Rocky Mountains. We’ve also seen a fair selection of wildlife already, from eagles to bighorn sheep, sturdy elks to cute little chipmunks.
But despite promises from our guide, Larissa, that the bumper berry season this year means bears are feeding in abundance, we have yet to see any of the creatures, either brown or grizzly.
Maybe our luck will change tomorrow when we will be sightseeing at Lake Louise and in the surrounding national park.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:23+00:00 10 August 2010|Cruise Destinations|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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