After the usual breakfast, teams are brought into the actual contest hall (Van Horne ballroom). The contestants are to be seated in their assigned workstations, accompanied by their coaches. Other spectators are to be seated at the back of the ballroom on the staged spectator seats.
Just like last year, the contest is to be conducted in a ballroom, with workstations set in order for every teams. The two screens in the front (and one at the back) will display the contest scoreboard, problem statistics, as well as the news (which teams solved which problem) on the actual contest day. This year, we are assigned to workstation number 8, which is located quite near to the front stage.
On the table are some documents containing the username and password for login as well as a sheet with the famous "Do not touch anything" quote on it.
The opening ceremony started with a traditional dance (and song) from the Blackfoot tribe which unfortunately wasn't visible to us because it was conducted in front of the spectator seats (thus on the back of the contest area).
A usual, a series of speech followed. There was short speeches from the representatives from ACM, UPE, as well as from IBM as the event sponsor (represented by Doug Heintzman), representatives from the University of Alberta (a video was shown about the University of Alberta).
The pre-recorded speech from the deputy minister of Industry of Canada was presented on the screen as well. The deputy mayor of the town of Banff also delivered an interesting speech (Banff welcomes so many tourists throughout the years, but the ICPC World Finalists are the smartest they have had yet :D ).
The practice session is divided into two sessions, during which participants can try submitting one solution to a problem they have been assigned to. This is meant to familiarize the teams with the system (although it is quite similar to other ICPC competitions).
The first practice session is followed by a lunch, after which the question and answer session is conducted to answer questions that were raised during the practice (some are quite funny, actually :P ).
We finished early as we are bound to depart for the Gondola ride. The gondola itself is located just about 15minutes away by bus from the Fairmont hotel.
It is the fastest gondola in the world (if I'm not mistaken), and it took only 10 minutes to reach the top of the Sulphur Mountain. The view up there was simply amazing.
(The walking trail, we did not make it to the other peak)
From the top, we can see the little town of Banff as well as the beautiful range of Canadian Rockies touching the cloudy sky.
Unfortunately the time scheduled for being up there is only about 15-30 minutes (which was not enough). Hurrying a little bit, we took a lot of pictures before riding the gondola down and being late for about 15 minutes for the return trip (the bus was still there, looks like many people are being late as well).
We arrived back in Fairmont at about 5pm, and since there was still plenty of time to walk downtown, browse some shops, walk back, and still make it to the dinner, we decided to go there.
Downtown Banff is about 15minutes walk from the Fairmont hotel. We have to cross the bow river through the bridge before reaching the downtown.
The main street have a lot of shops on both sides, so we decided to walk around. Some of us bought some souvenirs. Most of them accepts US Dollars on par with Canadian Dollars, which is nice since exchanging dollars in Canada seems to be costy.
With some souvenirs in hand, we walk back to the hotel and as planned, still make it to the dinner. Because the next day is the actual competition day and we need to be in our best conditions, we decided to get to sleep early. Nevertheless, we were still able to make another trip the the CyberCafe, including playing some tennis game on a Nitendo Wii with several peoples including Petr Mitrichev (the highest rated Topcoder member to date) :D .
(All photos are copyrighted, please ask for permission before reproducing)