With one month to go before the Vancouver Olympics today, heavy rain shut down Cypress Mountain — home of freestyle skiing and snowboarding.
The wet stuff was even coming down at the very top where organizers stockpiled snow for emergencies.
Kent Rideout, snow school director for Cypress Mountain said it’s not yet time to panic.
“The base at the bottom is getting pretty thin right now,” Rideout said. “What we are telling people is to get through the storm and see what the impact on the mountain is, then see what the plan would be to get the mountain back going again.”
VANOC is also unfazed as vice-president of sports Tim Gayda said they prepared by stockpiling both natural and artificial snow when the temperatures were colder, starting in the fall.
“In terms of (the stockpiles) cubic metres it would be in thousands,” he said, adding they wouldn’t move the snow for at least another week.
“The more we can leave it untouched, the more it’s naturally insulated and protected,” Gayda said. “We want to keep it up high as long as we can. We’re protecting our fortunes as long as we can.”
If needed, other parts of the Mountain will be shut down and snow from public areas would be used to maintain the Olympic runs.
A decision on that is expected tomorrow.
This would mean that Cypress Mountain would remain closed off to recreational use until after the Olympics. The original plan was to shut it down Feb. 1.
“The success of the Games is the priority, and we’ll co-operate with VANOC in whatever they need to do to make the Games successful,” said Rideout.
According to Environment Canada meteorologist John McIntyre another warm front is coming in Thursday, before it cools down again on the weekend.
“It’s too early to know what the weather will be like in a month when the Olympics start,” McIntyre said.
Last year, soft snow conditions and warm temperatures were partly responsible for the cancellation of a men’s and women’s World Cup snowboard event at Cypress on Feb. 15.