February 09, 2007 Features & Images » Feature Story

Enroute to 2010 

What's the game plan? Are we ready for 2010? Pique Newsmagazine pounds the pavement to find out what's been done and what's still left to do.

"Their needs are based on location, location, location." VANOC's Nejat Sarp on finding room for 1,700 accredited media during 2010. Photo by Bonny Makarewicz
  • "Their needs are based on location, location, location." VANOC's Nejat Sarp
    on finding room for 1,700 accredited media during 2010. Photo by
    Bonny Makarewicz

Page 9 of 33

“In the case of too much snow, and it is a great problem to have, that requires more cat preparation time to pack the snow down to have it compacted to a level the athletes are happy with,” said Finestone.

“If there isn’t enough snow we can tell that weeks and weeks in advance with information from Environment Canada which has forecasters based out of Whistler right now.

“And we have massively increased our snowmaking capacity at all the different venues and we would be making snow well in advance. We would not even need to have any natural snow on the ground and we would have the capability of making snow, with the right temperatures, to cover the entire event.”

No one has forgotten February 2005 when it rained to the top of Whistler Mountain. This year, more typically, over nine metres of snow have fallen in the alpine.

The Calgary Winter Olympic Games in 1988 suffered from Chinook winds and the Nagano '98 Winter Games events were interrupted by an earthquake, too much snow, and too much rain at different points in the schedule; events were delayed but the Games were successful by all accounts. This week, the first events at the FIS World Alpine Skiing Championships in Are, Sweden were delayed by weather.

“…If you delay events or postpone them to the next day it has massive implications,” said Gayda, adding that the impacts are felt by athletes, officials, the media, and the worldwide audience, which is expected to be about 3 billion.

“Your weather forecast must be accurate leading into that event because everything you are planning on to run the event is based on the forecast being accurate.”

VANOC has partnered with Environment Canada and in all close to $12 million will be spent by Olympic organizers and the federal government to make sure Olympic forecasts are as accurate as possible. VANOC’s $2.9 million share will come out of the operating budget.

It’s hoped a new Doppler radar system will be in place in the corridor by the end of this year, as well as a vertical wind profiler. There are new weather information collection stations on Whistler Mountain, at the Nordic centre in the Callaghan Valley, at the Sliding Centre on Blackcomb Mountain, Cypress Mountain, and in various places in southwestern coastal B.C. to help forecasters more reliably predict the weather.

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