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WHISTLER — For the past five days, the commute has been a bear.

You have to wait in line for about 30 seconds. Then there’s the matter of getting your backpack off your shoulder, sitting down, and pulling down the safety bar.

Riding a chairlift to work can get addictive.

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That’s what you do to cover alpine skiing in Whistler, where the finish area for the men’s and women’s ski races is 300 or 400 vertical feet above Whistler Creekside. Media people and spectators are dumped out of buses at Creekside, then given a choice: Ride the lift, a short detachable quad apparently built just for this purpose — or walk.

The walk actually looks pleasant — on a paved trail off the snow. But since we’re almost always running late to things at the Olympics, the chairlift has been the transport of choice.

The chair, a high-speed model, is fast, swooping you up and sitting you down right near the finish area. Riding it down at night, while the sun sets, is stunning. Although it always feels a little weird to ride a lift downhill. Or one uphill without skis, for that matter.

It’s my favorite part of the day.

Photo: Riding the “special” lift down from the alpine finish area to Whistler Creekside at dusk. Ron Judd/Seattle Times.

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