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Welcome to hair-raising Whistler

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Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes | 20:17 UK time, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Wow, what a place Whistler is! I've always wanted to come here, and for me this is the where the real Winter Olympics are (not that I've been to Vancouver yet!)

Whistler - famous for its great snow, great pistes and friendly people and so far living up to that reputation - is the home of the alpine sports.

These sports are at the heart of the history of the games. Skiing and sliding are my favourite events and I am privileged to be here covering them for the BBC.

Guntis Rekis of Latvia takes part in luge practice

The place is buzzing with athletes, their connections and the world's media. The restaurants, bars, cafes and accomodation all seem full to the brim. There aren't many non-Olympic accredited tourists yet but I'm sure that will all change when the events start.

I am making a feature for BBC Sport on the Whistler sliding track - and last night we went to the sliding centre to film a few bits to camera as the lugers were training. It's the first time I've ever actually been to a sliding track - and it's just a bit special.

The track is described as the fastest and most technically challenging in the world .

When you see it on the TV you know sliding sports are fast and exciting but to stand less than three feet from the ice where someone is hurtling past you at 100 miles per hour is an incredible sight. The hairs on my arms stood on end (under my thick layer of warm coats!) and I was simply mesmerised by the spectacle.

Earlier I was given a tour of the Olympic village by Team GB's deputy chef de mission, Sir Clive Woodward. He was absolutely charming and didn't seem to mind us filming everything from three different angles.

Clive (he said to just call him Clive) has been the driving force behind improving the sports science for the winter athletes here. But it's not just about the ice baths and hi-tech gym equipment he's installed, which are clearly vital to the team's performance.

He's also made sure everyone has the basic stuff like comfortable beds, ear plugs and somewhere to relax. His theory seems to be "make lots of things a little better and it all adds up to make a big difference."

I guess that's advice we can all use for everything in life. Let's hope his improvements add up to a big medal tally for Team GB this year.

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