Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grand Prix Final Wrap-Up

I'm over a week late, but I wanted to post some parting thoughts on the Grand Prix Final. I wish North America held this event more often because I think it is the perfect competition to attend. Since each discipline has only six skaters, each event only lasts an hour, saving spectators from the "arena cramped leg syndrome" that occurs during four-hour marathon competitions. Plus, the roster of skaters is comprised of the best in the world, so the quality of skating is guaranteed to be high. A win-win all the way around!

Quebec City was a beautiful host city for the event. It looked like Christmas blew up all over the city. You couldn't walk two feet without seeing Christmas decorations. The official hotel, the Chateau Frontenac, was gorgeous and so charming. It's now second on my list to the Davenport in Spokane, my favorite of all the host hotels at which I've stayed. The only drawback to the hotel was its restaurants were too expensive, but we found some great options nearby.

Next door to the Frontenac was a wonderful restaurant, Le Petit Chateau, where I had a couple of delicious crepes. I highly recommend the chocolate hazelnut crepe for dessert! In Basse-Ville (Lower Town), we ate at Le Cochon Dingue, which had some of the best french fries I've ever tasted. So thin and crispy! The vegetable sandwich there was also yummy.

The arena, the Pavillon de Jeunesse, didn't quite match the beauty of the city. I question why Skate Canada would choose such an old facility with limited amenities to host the GPF. Canadian fans I spoke to also had the same question. The arena has only two restrooms, both on one side of the building, so they set up a portable restroom outside. Running outside in freezing temps and then cramming into an "outhouse" with two stalls wasn't exactly ideal. The arena also had only two concession stands plus one selling just drinks. Lines were VERY long. If Canada hosts the GPF again, I hope they'll select a more comfortable venue.

Thanks to everyone who checked out my blog during the event! I really appreciate your interest and hope you'll continue to read! I'll be reporting from U.S. Nationals next month and Four Continents in February, but before that, I have some contests and giveaways planned in conjunction with the release of my book on January 5. More information coming soon!

I'll leave you with some photos I took around Quebec City:

2011 Grand Prix Final Scenery

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