Games organizers said they will have to use tractors and helicopters to move snow to Olympic runs on Cypress Mountain.

Warm weather brought rain instead of the white stuff to the Olympic venue and with 22 days to go before the Olympics there’s little snow in the forecast.

“We are actually planning that we will not have snow, and that the temperatures may not be agreeable with making snow,” said Cathy Priestner Allinger, VANOC executive vice-president of sport and games operations.

VANOC announced the news yesterday afternoon after its final board of directors meeting before the Games.

Kent Rideout, spokesman for Cypress Mountain, said that it snowed a little at the summit, but it hasn’t been cold enough to make snow further down the mountain.

As a precaution, VANOC had already started saving snow in piles covered by tarps in higher altitudes. The mountain’s alpine area was also closed to recreational use on Jan. 12 in an effort to save snow.

Crews will use snowcats, helicopters and trucks to move the saved snow to the Olympic runs as well as some from Black Mountain, which is across from the event runs.

“We believe there is enough snow on the mountain, that’s the good news, our job is to move it,” Allinger said. “We are building some pieces ... We are using wood and straw basically to take the place of snow where we need it.”

According to VANOC CEO John Furlong, people should take comfort in the fact that only one of six venues is currently incomplete and rest assured that Cypress Mountain will be ready.

“Our view is we will reconcile this, and we will deliver the venues,” said Furlong.
With files from Greg Downs