Educators excited about Olympics trip

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 11, 2002

The Winter Olympics experience will be unforgettable this yearfor two Brookhaven residents who won’t just be watching the eventsfrom just their television sets.

Brookhaven Elementary School principal Pam Fearn and teacherWanda Fernald will be headed to Salt Lake City Tuesday to watch anumber of the Olympic events live.

“Ever since I was a child I’ve dreamed of going to the WinterOlympics,” Fearn said. “I just can’t believe I’m going to bethere.”

The long-time friends have been planning the six-day trip sincepurchasing tickets in December 2000, with their preparationsamplified during the last few weeks.

“I’ve been wearing my snow boots every day to break them in,”said Fearn.

She and Fernald have made sure they will survive the Utahtemperatures, which range from 7-15 degrees this time of year.

“We got special long johns, socks, waterproof ski pants, coatsfor minus-five degree weather, scarves, gloves, you name it, we gotit,” said Fernald.

Despite the chilly forecast, the women say they won’t complainabout the cold as long as it means plenty of snow.

“It’s going to be great just being knee-high in snow. We bothlove snow,” Fernald added.

During the last year, the duo made a list of all the possibleitems they may need during their trip, including a snowball makingtool, and packed everything as tightly as possible intosuitcases.

They plan to lug their suitcases to the airport in Jackson at 3a.m. Tuesday in order to pass through security checks prior totheir 5 a.m. flight.

Then Fearn and Fernald will head to Provo, Utah, a town south ofSalt Lake City, where they were able to secure a hotel room over ayear ago, with the help of a local hotel owner.

“It’s been hard to make reservations for the flights, carrental, tickets for the venues and hotels because almost everythingwas reserved by Olympic officials who were selling package deals,”Fearn explained.

After months of persistence, they were able to find everythingthey needed for their big trip.

“We have tickets for several events and there’s some events weare going to try to get tickets for once we get there because theyhad an excess of tickets, ” Fearn said.

Among the events, Fearn and Fernald plan to watch the two-manbobsled finals, which might not even compare to the similarexperience they have planned for Tuesday night.

“We’re going to Park City, where we have reservations to rideone-man sleds from the top of the mountain,” said Fearn.

She imagines it will be an adrenaline rush and hopefully not toodangerous, so they may continue their week of events.

“After that, if we haven’t broken a leg, Wednesday morning wehave reservations to ride the Provo Limited Train for a two and ahalf hour tour through the mountains,” she added.

Wednesday night a slay ride will take them through snow-coveredhills to a cabin in the mountains for dinner.

The next day they will head to the Men’s Super G skiing eventnorth of Salt Lake City.

“It’s very fast skiing, I think they get up to speeds of 90miles per hour,” Fearn explained, also mentioning that the women’sdownhill skiing event was part of their schedule.

Fearn and Fernald also plan to make a trip to Olympic Village,where they have tickets for the International Ice CarvingCompetition Friday night.

“Each of the 30 teams will have 20 hours to carve from 3,000pounds of ice,” said Fearn. “We’re really excited about that. Theymake fabulous, huge carvings.”

The two friends are also looking forward to their closeencounters in a Geo Tracker where they will spend the majority oftheir time.

“As little as it is, I told Pam we ought to be able to pick itup and put it back on the road if it slides off,” Fernaldlaughed.

Due to heightened security measures, they will spend a number ofhours in the vehicle traveling to and from events going throughsecurity checkpoints along the way.

“We’ve estimated that if the event starts at 10 a.m., we’ve gotto leave our hotel at 5 a.m.,” said Fearn, explaining how vehiclesare not allowed near the venues and people must ride shuttle busesand walk to the designated areas.

Fernald explained that security will be very tight with foursecurity guards to every athlete, which makes her feel safe aboutthe trip.

They look forward to meeting people from all over the world, andplan to bring back a few souvenirs to remind them of the peoplethey meet.

“There’s a pin swapping venue and we plan to go to it and seehow many we can get,” said Fernald, mentioning the Mississippilapel pins they plan to take and trade with other visitors.