Cypress standees bummed out

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER -- “Bummer” is the word for thousands of fans who were hoping to see superstar snowboarder Shaun White or witness the Olympic debut of skicross at Cypress Mountain.

Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics cancelled another 20,000 standing room tickets Tuesday for halfpipe snowboarding (Feb. 17-18), skicross (Feb. 21 and 23) and parallel giant slalom snowboarding (Feb. 26-27). The measure does not affect those with reserved grandstand tickets.

“It's too unstable up there and too unsafe to have people in big numbers walking around the side of the courses,” said VANOC ticketing vice-president Caley Denton. “We had a little bit more rain last night that continues to take some of the snow away."

Denton announced Sunday night that 8,000 tickets for Monday and Tuesday’s snowboard cross events were cancelled because of a Saturday night rainstorm. The 28,000 tickets will be refunded but it means VANOC will be at least $1.5 million shy of its $260 million ticket sales goal.

“The snow has washed away to the point where people can punch through and potentially step in between two big straw bales and that becomes a pretty deep crack,” Denton said.

VANOC has spent millions of dollars since mid-January to salvage the competition courses at Cypress where the El Nino-influenced warm and wet weather wiped snow off the slopes. Helicopters dumped snow from neighbouring mountains while a fleet of heavy duty trucks brought snow from Allison Pass in Manning Park, 160 kilometres east of Vancouver.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca

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