Snowboard cross, big air events cancelled 

Lack of snow prompts FIS to cancel two World Cup events and change parallel giant slalom to parallel slalom

Considering how dry and warm it has been in Whistler this fall, the organizers of the Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup are thinking two out of four isn’t bad.

This week organizers announced they would be forced to cancel the Big Air event that was planned for Sunday due to a lack of snow.

"The temperature has just been too mild for Whistler-Blackcomb to blow as much snow as we expected. We’ve had to cancel the discipline for the safety of the riders," said Christina Allsop of MASEV Communications, which is organizing the World Cup and Bell Mobility Snow Scene weekend.

The snowboard cross planned for Thursday was cancelled last week, although organizers said there was a chance that it could be rescheduled for Monday. After looking into it more, the organizers decided that it just wasn’t possible.

"The Monday rescheduling wasn’t able to take place because of all the equipment moving and the athletes’ and managers’ travel plans. Everybody was booked to leave on Monday to be at Stoneham (Quebec, where a World Cup is scheduled) next weekend, and we couldn’t logistically change everyone’s plans, or the moving of the massive amount of equipment needed for the World Cup tour," said Allsop.

In addition to canceling these two events, the parallel giant slalom was changed to a parallel slalom.

"We had to drop the word ‘giant’," said Allsop.

"The parallel slalom event is run on a course which is narrower than the parallel giant slalom, allowing us to achieve the required snowdepths on course," explained Mark Taylor, the event chairman for MASEV Communications. The course is also shorter.

"Whistler-Blackcomb crews have been working diligently to prepare the Blackcomb Terrain Park for the competitions, but a mild weather system has prevented the necessary snowmaking to occur and has forced the FIS to cancel Big Air. Thirteen centimetres of new snow fell last night (Tuesday) though, with colder temperatures and more snow is on the way, so the parallel slalom and halfpipe are in good shape," he said.

The parallel slalom will take place on Friday, Dec. 13 with qualifiers starting at 9:30 a.m. and the finals getting underway at 1 p.m.

The halfpipe will take place on Saturday. The men will kick it off with run one at 9 a.m. and run two at 9:55 a.m in the qualifier. The women’s qualifiers take place at 11:25 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. The finals for both start at 1:30 p.m.

Sunday will be used as a weather day for the other events. With Environment Canada predicting continued cloud cover and precipitation through the weekend, it could come in handy.

The World Cup is expected to draw the top athletes from more than 20 countries, including a strong core of Canadians.

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