Vancouver International Airport receives flights from around the world. However, a December snowstorm paralyzed the airport, and official 2010 Games airline Air Canada canceled hundreds of flights. Several border crossings serve Washington state. Ferries also arrive in B.C. from the state's Olympic Peninsula.
The city's newest light rail line will connect the airport with downtown in late 2009. A ride on the Skytrain can be a great way for an initial exploration — as well as providing incredible views. Buses are generally efficient, but the best way to explore the accessible city center is to bundle up and walk. Even if it's raining (and there's a good chance it will be), the city core has plenty of underground malls.
The figure skating arena is about 20 minutes by bus from the city center. Event tickets will include local transit fares. Snowboarding and freestyle skiing events on the city's North Shore will be tougher to reach. Alpine events are 90 miles away in Whistler, but an Olympic fleet of buses will be running. Traffic will be strictly limited on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, which was recently redeveloped at a cost of nearly $500 million.
What to eat
Vancouver's multiethnic population provides for an unequaled dining adventures. Chinatown offers a taste of the Orient for all price ranges, The Punjabi Market at 49th Avenue and Main Street delivers the spicy tang of the Indian subcontinent, and Little Italy on Commercial Drive provides a distinctive Mediterranean flavor.
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Where to stay
During the Olympics, even mountain-lovers may have to stay in Vancouver because of the shortage of shelter in the hills. Both Vancouver and Whistler tourism officials are expecting more accommodation to open up as 2009 progresses. Many will appear on www.2010destinationplanner.com.
CoSport — www.cosport.com — is handling much of the accommodations, event tickets, airport meet and greet services, meals, ground transportation, and host services.
In Canada, Olympic tickets have already been sold by lottery through the 2010 Games Web site, www.vancouver2010.com. A list of ticket agents for countries outside Canada is also available through the spectator information and ticketing link at that site. In the U.S., the agent is at www.cosport.com/.
Local skiing lasts into April at Whistler-Blackcomb (www.whistlerblackcomb.com), Grouse Mountain (www.grousemountain.com), Mount Seymour (www.mountseymour.com) and Cypress Mountain (www.cypressmountain.com). Cypress is hosting Olympic snowboarding and freestyle skiing events.
For more information
Transit, tours and accommodations in Vancouver: www.tourismvancouver.com.
Information about British Columbia: www.hellobc.com.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.