Vancouver Olympics – Update

Things aren’t going according to plan for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games which start February 12.

___ The weather is too warm because the whole West Coast of the United States and British Columbia are caught in an El Nino pattern of being dry and warm.

For the snow-boarding events, which are being held close to Vancouver BC, at Cypress Mountain, there’s far too little snow, and the last few days’ snowfall was measured in centimeters as negligible. Parts of the slopes are bare and muddy. Not good.

At the same time, Whistler, BC, where the downhill and many other premier events are being held, was having almost white-out conditions and far too much snow for crowds to deal with.

The slopes have been closed to the public already at Cypress Mountain in hopes of conserving the snow, and there’s lots of discussion as to whether making snow mechanically will work in these present conditions. Lots of uncertainty happening after so many years of planing. Nature just does her own thing!

___ The other aspect which is also troubling now is that reports have surfaced about spurious rentals being made for the Games (especially for those wanting to rent accommodation away from hotels at Whistler).

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (“Mounties”) say that this is not the first time that they have had to track down people pretending to have rentals at Whistler who then abscond with people’s deposits for non-existent properties.

The latest rental scam case at Whistler BC seems to involve the parents of US Olympian, Steve Mesler. a 4-man bobsled athlete for the world’s best team. Ben and Lois Mesler seem to have been scammed for $8,000 while trying to rent accommodation in Whistler, home of the 2010 Olympic sliding track.

It’s been about six months since the last one, the RCMP report.

“If a deal is too good to be true then it probably is not true, and if you can’t meet face to face with somebody, that is a red flag,” said Officer LeClair.

The Meslers used an advertising site, , to help them find Whistler accommodations. But, read the fine-print! The site does not vet those who advertise there nor those who use the site to find accommodation, said site administrator Mark Szekely.

Szekely said people seeking or renting homes anywhere, especially when it will be done long-distance, should consider using a property management service and use a lawyer to hold funds in escrow and check title on residences to avoid disappointment and fraud. Sad state of affairs! If you already have “private” rentals, maybe check things closer to make sure all is OK with your reservations.

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