EIGHTEEN MONTHS FROM NOW, when our eh-saying neighbors to the north host the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, you can either be in the middle of the action, cheering on athletes like Seattle’s own kamikaze slalom skier Libby Ludlow and enjoying BC’s best food and lodging, or you can be stuck at home, squinting at figure skaters on TV and stabbing the mute button every time Bob Costas rears his bug-eyed head. It’s all in the planning.

Lucky for you, the planning’s mostly done. We scoped out every Olympic venue from Vancouver to Whistler, and got an IOC official’s-eye view of the events, restaurants, and hotels that the rest of the world will be talking about come game time. If you’re going to beat the planet to the best your own backyard has to offer, you’ve got to act now. Buy your tickets starting October 3 (we’ll show you how), book your room (we’ll show you where), and take heed of this urgent tip, the most important step of your 2010 experience: Read this article now.

* Yes, we know you’re already proactive, but this isn’t standing in line for the latest cellphone. This is the greatest sporting event to hit the Northwest in a generation.