Bagged lunch more than enough pay for Chelseaite Olympic volunteer

She took a year-long leave of absence from her teaching job at the Ottawa Technical Learning Centre in anticipation. She paid her own way to and from Vancouver and found accommodation at Whistler with an old friend.

She may be called upon in the middle of night, in a snowstorm, to strap on her headlamp and hit the slopes with a rake and shovel. And the only official compensation she’ll receive is a uniform, a bagged lunch and “maybe a beer for us at the end of the day.”

Still, for Chelseaite Jane Macintyre, the opportunity to volunteer at this winter’s Olympic games was not to be missed.

“We were watching the announcement here on TV, watching them celebrate in Whistler,” she said, remembering when the 2010 games were awarded to Vancouver. “I was thinking, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got to be a part of that.’”

Macintyre, who has been involved in organizing high school alpine ski racing for 15 years, been Chief of Race for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations, and worked on the Outaouais circuit for six years was certainly a strong candidate.

The Chelsea native started skiing when she was two and began racing at Mont Ste. Marie at the age of eight. She competed on the regional team growing up and raced for Queen’s University.

To earn her spot as a member of the alpine ski course crew, she filled out an online questionnaire before being interviewed when Olympic staff came to Ottawa last April.

When the games begin, Mcintyre will be among the 250 volunteers responsible for the five women’s events – a total that doesn’t even include the gatekeepers, timers and other positions unrelated to course maintenance.

“It’s like mobilizing an army,” she said of the organizational task, adding that the most interesting part of the whole experience might be observing the logistical work.

For the Downhill and Super G, Macintyre said the work of keeping the course in order and maintaining essentially the same conditions for each racer is less taxing than for the more technical Slalom and Giant Slalom races. Her roll is to “be on the end of a rake or a shovel for the most part,” but with skis attached, so she’s been working with a personal trainer to ensure that she’s in peak form.

Returning to Whistler will be something of a homecoming to Macintyre, who lived there with her husband Steve Lynott for two years, working as a ski instructor. This time he’ll be staying behind, shuttling their two children – Jillian (10) and Patrick (14) Lynott – to their various ski races.

“I just keep telling people to watch me on TV,” Macintyre said of appeasing jealous family and friends.