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In honour of Peter Adam Crook, about to become the first skier from the British Virgin Islands ever to participate in the Winter Olympic games and only the second BVIslander to do so in any discipline, I’m posting this story. It’s about a Winter Olympic training camp that actually did take place as described below several years ago in the BVI and with which I was very much involved.

For more about the BVI Winter Olympics go to

This story is taken from Book Two of the Wanderings and Sojourns series, “On Tropical Islands and Sparkling Seas“, which is at the publishers right now.

“So tell me again about the picture. Where are they really snowboarding?”
“In the Caribbean.”
“They’re snowboarding in the Caribbean?”
“How? It’s too close to the equator. It’s tropical. There’s no snow.”
“Kilimanjaro’s much closer to the equator ….. less than 200 miles ….. it has snow year round.”
“Kilimanjaro’s nearly 20,000 feet above sea level. That picture is at sea level. You can see the sea right next to the snow. You can also see palm and sea grape trees. Don’t normally get either anywhere near the snowline ….. anywhere in the world.”
“Except the Caribbean.”
“There’s no snowline in the Caribbean. There’s no snow in the Caribbean.”
“There is in that picture. Must be true”
“That’s not real snow.”
“’Tis too!”
“How do you know?”
“I was there. Stood in it myself……… In my sandals.”
“You were snowboarding in sandals?”
“Don’t be silly ….. I don’t snowboard. You know that.”
“So what were you doing standing in the snow ……. in your sandals?”
“Shoveling it.”
“You were snow shoveling in the Caribbean?”
“Yup. …….. In my sandals”
“Where exactly in the Caribbean were you snow shoveling?”
“Marina Cay. British Virgins.”
“OK. I’ve been there. The highest point is about 50 feet above sea level, and that’s the top of a palm tree. It doesn’t snow at Marina Cay. It can’t snow at Marina Cay
“Didn’t say it had snowed. Just said I was shoveling snow.”
“So how the heck did it get there if it hadn’t snowed?
“40 foot refrigerated high cube container.”
“Ah!….. OK. You shipped it in.”
Of course. How else would it bloody well get there?”
“From Canada?”
“From Florida.”
“Snow from Florida?”
“Dare I ask?”
“A film company that has a machine for making snow for movie sets.”
“OK ….. It’s coming together. So that’s how. Now can I ask why you shipped in a 40 foot refrigerated high cube container of Floridian man-made snow to Marina Cay?”
“Customer wanted us to.”
“So those guys could go snowboarding.”
“OK. Why would those guys even want to go snowboarding anywhere there’s never any snow, let alone at Marina Cay?”
“Winter Olympics training camp.”
“That’s what it was.”
“Winter Olympics training camp…….”

“How long did the snow last before it melted?”

“About 40 minutes …. give or take…….. mostly take.”

“So what all happened?”
“Well we kept it in the refrigerated container until just after dawn when it was light enough to shoot but the sun was still really low so not so hot; shoveled like buggery to cover the slope for them to snowboard on, and took pictures of them doing so until it started melting.”
“After 40 minutes.”
“Well ….. a lot less actually. It started melting as soon as we put it on the ground. It was pretty much gone in 40 minutes.”
“What kind of training camp is that?”
“A very short one.”
“OK ….. So what’s the story behind this photo shoot?”
“The island was leased by a big tequila maker and they unofficially named it “The republic of their brand name” as if it was an independent tropical country named the same as their product. So ….. they use it for advertising and marketing purposes. So ….. this was a promotional shoot for their tequila based on the concept that the Republic of Whatever, which of course is not a real country, was putting a team in the Winter Olympics the following year, which they obviously weren’t.”
“And so they wanted to snowboard at Marina Cay.”
“Why not go where there’s normal snow?”
“Palm trees. The Republic is tropical.”
“Of course ….. Palm trees …… In the snow.”
“Yup.  Palm trees.”
“Well, I suppose Jamaica did have that bob-sled team one year.”
“And the BVI had a speed skater one year too.”
“Didn’t know that. Do any good?”
“Competed …… That’s an achievement.”
“That it is. Dare I ask where they found the ice to train?”
”New York.”
“New York. Of course ….. Not very tropical ….. New York.”
“But they got ice.”
“Yup. But not many palm trees.”
“How did the snowboard team do ….. From the Republic of Whatever?”
“Apparently tequila sales were quite strong that year.”
“So they done good.”

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