Snow or No Snow — Let the Winter Olympics Games Begin

By Sadie Bass

Jan 22, 2010 12:49pm

ABC's Stu Schutzman reports from New York: The people in charge of next month’s Vancouver Winter Olympics are more than a little nervous, they’re getting desperate.  There isn’t enough snow on Cypress Mountain, one of their feature venues.  The prospects for snow between now and then are dismal.  In jeopardy are some downhill skiing events and some very popular snow boarding contests.  Temperatures are hovering above 45-degrees and expected to remain there for the foreseeable future ( say forecasters which, along with some rain, bodes badly for natural snow or the man made variety.  Blame it on El Nino they say.  So what’s an organizer to do?   For openers, the Vancouver Organizing Committee has hired batteries of weather experts and set up dozens of mobile weather stations.  But forecasters only forecast and, so far, all VANOC has to show for its investment is bad news.  “There are some people who are concerned,” chief meteorologist Chris Doyle told the Seattle Times.  That’s an understatement — desperate times require desperate measures.  The powers that be have already shut down the mountain to recreational skiers in order to preserve what little snow is left.  They have managed to store some snow locally, but now it’s time for plan B — the heavy equipment.  They are about to begin literally moving tons of fresh snow by truck and helicopter from higher elevations. It’s a herculean undertaking but they’re confident they can pull it off.  “We have all the technology, equipment, people and expertise to deliver the Games,” said one official to the New York Times.  Risky business but it’s not really surprising they’re confronted with this dilemma.  The Times reports that Vancouver organizers conducted a trial run just one year ago at the same venue and guess what, they found exactly the same problem.    Forewarned is forearmed? Not this time.  So will the athletes have their powder… or a powder keg of post-game recriminations.  Stay tuned.

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