Cypress Mountain will be ready for the Winter Games regardless of the hand dealt by Mother Nature, Olympic organizers said Thursday.
The local ski resort, home to freestyle skiing and snowboard events, has seen its normal winter flurries replaced by a flurry of workers shaping courses from bales of hay and snow “harvested” from higher elevations.
“Our goal is to move ahead with the weather we are dealt with,” said Tim Gayda, VANOC’s vice-president of sport.
Warm temperatures, combined with rain at lower elevations, prompted Cypress to shut down its alpine area in mid-January to conserve snow.
A team of 45 people has been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to shape the courses.
Every Olympic Games gets hit by weather, Gayda said. Torino had similar problems with not enough snow and Nagano had issues with its alpine events because of too much snow.
As of Thursday, about 800 bales of hay, each weighing more than 450 kilograms, were airlifted by helicopter and stacked “like Lego” to shape course features.
Snow, harvested from high elevations on neighbouring Mount Strachan, was transported to the Black Mountain competition venues by mining dump trucks.
It was then pushed into place by snowcat. On the steep moguls and aerial course, it was even winched uphill by snowcats cabled to towers.
The International Ski Federation, which is responsible for certifying the venues ahead of competition, viewed Cypress on Tuesday and said they were confident the courses would be ready for the Games.
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