With the 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games running from February 8th through until February 25th, 2018 at Pyeongchang County, South Korea, a tweet from fellow SL traveller and writer, Erik Mondrian reminded me that Second Life also has its own winter sports venue in the form of six regions centred on Chamonix City on the Full region of Cross Check. It’s a place I last visited back in 2014, so the current games and Erik’s tweet put me in the mind to hop back and have another look, and see what may have changed.
Chamonix City – a reference to the location of the first Winter Olympics Games, held in 1924 – encompasses two of the six regions of this winter sports venue – Cross Check and Neutral Zone. They are bracketed by Breakaway to the west and Off Sides to the east, with Empty Net and Blueliner to the north and south respectively. Within these regions, the facilities on offer are extensive, and can be found both on the ground and up in the air. The city itself is dominated by two huge ice hockey arenas – the Brooks Arena on Blueliner, and the impressive Cleary arena, which straddles the northern part of Cross Check and most of Empty Net. Home to the Chamonix Pandas, Cleary arena also offers 10-pin bowling on the lobby area and one of a number of teleport stations which can be used to hop around the facilities scattered across the six regions. This includes a direct TP to Brooks Area – although the walk across town is pleasant enough, or there is a subway option, with stations just outside of both arenas.
Directly behind Brooks Arena is the main curling hall, with four ends available for players. To be honest, some instructions would not go amiss – for example: is actually possible to sweep, and if so, how? However, game play is pretty much as per the physical world game – trying to slide your team’s stones as close as possible to the centre of the house, whilst also seeking to block / eliminate your opposition’s stones. When playing, make sure you wear at least one of the coloured brooms from the free pack available at the top house of each end – order of play is based on who is wearing the broom matching the colour (red or yellow) of the first stone to appear before the hacks (chocks). Clicking on the hacks will position the player and place them in Mouselook, then it is a case of taking aim (use the crosshairs HUD if required), then press and hold the left mouse button to deliver the stone – the longer you hold the button, the more momentum is delivered to the stone, and players should be wary of delivering too much momentum and carrying their stones out-of-bounds.
A faster pace of event can be found in the sky over Breakaway, where the speed skating arena resides. Slip into a suitably aerodynamic suit, don your skates and then click on one of the speed skating rezzers located around the rink to get started. For those who prefer, there’s an indoor speed skating rink right next door to the outdoor arena. This is smaller and tighter, and requires a certain amount of skill to get around.
Breakaway is also the home of the ski jump and alpine ski run for those who love sports skiing. Comprehensive instructions are given for the ski jump, and skis are available from the rezzer at the back of the jump’ s start. Sadly, the alpine ski rezzer appeared to be out of commission during our visit, so reacquainting myself with that run wasn’t possible.
Offsides, meanwhile, is the home of the snowboarding and bob-sleigh runs. However, at the time of our visit, while the rezzers (boots and board) worked OK for the former, the rezzer for the bob-sleigh also appeared to be out-of-action.
At the time of my 2014 visit, there was a practice area in the sky over Neutral Zone, which included a figure skating rink. Since then, things have changed and this sky area is now the home of a go karting track, speedway circle and a Warbugs flying area, offering a set of alternatives to the winter fun across the rest of the regions. I’m not sure if this means the practice area and figure skating rink have been relocated – but I did have (an admittedly fast) hop around and attempt to find them, with no joy – and none of the teleport boards I found and tired led me to them.
A collaborative build, led I believe, by Kacey Rossini, Chamonix City provides a venue rich in winter scenery containing a lot of sports activities which can be enjoyed as a pert of a shared visit, with options as well for exploring the little town centre, having fun flying Warbugs or simply riding the cable cars.
- Chamonix City (Cross Check, rated: General, as are all six regions)