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Soft snow impacts mountain venues
February 11, 2014 - Chris Knight
The temperature here in Krasnaya Polyana has been getting warm, in the upper 40s to low 50s for highs, over the last few days, and that's having an impact on the snow conditions at the mountain cluster of venues for the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The Russian organizers of the games announced today that they've started using some of the huge stockpiles of snow that were stored away last winter at some venues.
"I cannot tell you how much," said Aleksandra Kosterina, head of communications for Sochi 2014. "I just don't know. I mean I don't know the specifics but I know that we did."
Organizers had a "strong contingency plan in place" for warm weather, Kosterina said.
"Certainly that included several measures, and one of them was the snow preservation. The snow was stored from the previous season in insulation materials."
There were reports that today's men's snowboard halfpipe competition would be cancelled due to snow conditions, but IOC spokesman Mark Adams said it went on as scheduled.
"There is no problem at all with the halfpipe itself; it is just that these are dynamic living fields of play," Adams said.
At the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, U.S. ski racer Bode Miller said the soft snow will be a factor in Friday's men's super combined race, the first training session for which was held today.
"The conditions have changed," he said. "Now it is a completely different race course. It is going to be tough, because of all the good slalom skiers out there. It could have been a great race but now the conditions are much easier and it will be much more difficult to put some time on."
During Monday night's men's biathlon pursuit race, Paul Smiths native Tim Burke said the snow was so deep and rutted in one downhill section that it was tough to keep your skis straight.
"I felt like they could have done a better job with getting some of that snow off the track," he said.
There have been several crashes in cross-country ski races today at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center.
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