Ski events won't be moved

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER -- The International Ski Federation is joining VANOC to pray for snow at Cypress Mountain.

Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics are in a race with time to move snow from higher elevations onto the snowboarding and freestyle skiing courses. The alpine area closed early on Jan. 13 after El Nino-related rain and high temperatures wiped snow off slopes.

VANOC officials will update media on Thursday morning, but FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis denied reports that events could be moved to Whistler Blackcomb or Sun Peaks.

"The work at Cypress is progressing very well, despite the difficult circumstances and there is certainly no consideration of discussing moving the freestyle and snowboard competitions to another resort," Lewis told QMI Agency.

Lewis said FIS race directors inspected the venue on Tuesday and remain confident it will be a "world class venue" during the Games.

Cypress is the first venue in Winter Olympics history with a view of the Pacific Ocean and is prone to rain and fog. Two temporary stadiums seating 12,000 each and broadcast facilities have been erected at Cypress.

VANOC executive vice-president of sport Cathy Priestner Allinger said Jan. 20 that trucks, snowcats and even helicopters would be used to harvest snow because conditions would not allow snowfall or snowmaking.

The first event scheduled for Cypress is women's freestyle moguls on Feb. 13.

Media reports speculated that events could be moved to Whistler Blackcomb, which is already hosting sliding sports and alpine skiing, or the Sun Peaks resort near Kamloops.

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