Weather continues to challenge VANOC

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

Finally, the 2010 Winter Olympics open Friday at 10 a.m. PST with ski jumping at Whistler Olympic Park.

But fog and heavy winds at Cypress Mountain continue to dog VANOC.

“Weather has not been our friend and it is continuing to challenge us,” executive vice-president of sport Cathy Priestner Allinger said Thursday.

Executive vice-president Terry Wright’s service operations department is running the operation to salvage the West Vancouver snowboarding and freestyle skiing venue. He said 115,000 pounds of straw have been moved into place and 300 to 400 flights of equipment have been dropped. He said 350 truckloads of snow were augmented by 1,000 cubic metres of snow dropped into hard-to-reach spots.

Meanwhile, men’s downhill training at Whistler Creekside went ahead Thursday for 85 athletes, but but women’s training was scuttled after two runs because of fog.

Priestner Allinger said the final call on postponements rests with the International Ski Federation after VANOC considers broadcast schedules, weather reports, and transportation and ticketing logistics. She said weather was anticipated to be a problem and tabletop exercises were conducted.

“We do have a series of contingency days in our schedule as well,” she said.

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