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Modest Expectations Met For Olympic Spillover Into Northwest

Tom Banse

Monday is expected to be the busiest day ever for departures from Vancouver International Airport. Thousands of athletes, officials and spectators are shipping out after Sunday night's Winter Olympic closing ceremony. Meanwhile, high traffic across the northern border during February provided a welcome bump for some northwest American business owners.


Entrepreneur Greg Murphy took a gamble on the Winter Olympics. He opened a temporary Olympics souvenir store facing Interstate 5, less than 10 miles south of the Canadian border. In the end, Murphy says he expects to break even with help from an unexpected clientele: Canadians who fled south from Vancouver to escape the Olympic craziness.

Greg Murphy: "They didn't want to be up there. There was too much happening up there. They wanted to be down here and they says, 'Omigod, it's so calm down here.' Going across the border took them five minutes."

A spokeswoman for the Mount Baker Ski Area in northwest Washington says it welcomed double the usual number of Canadians in February. Day skiers couldn't drive to Whistler or Cypress Mountain during the Olympics. The Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism bureau says travelers headed to the Winter Games boosted hotel occupancy, but there were still a lot of empty rooms. I'm Tom Banse near Blaine, Washington.

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