VANCOUVER — It took longer than expected, but it’s finally beginning to look a lot like the Winter Olympics on Cypress Mountain.
The West Vancouver mountain, which will play host to freestyle skiing and snowboarding events during the 2010 Games, was shut down to the public earlier this month when warm temperatures, lack of snow and heavy rain threatened the integrity of the Olympic runs.
But organizers say they’ve made tremendous progress since then by moving more than 300 truckloads of snow from the top of the mountain down to the field of play and by bringing in more than 1,000 bales of straw to replace the base of packed snow that had originally been anticipated.
“We have 17 days to get everything off and no matter what an organizing committee gets hit with, they’ve always managed to get every event off and we are not going to be the first to not get one off,” Tim Gayda, VANOC’s vice-president of sport, said Thursday.
To illustrate that point, Gayda walked reporters through a slideshow that demonstrated how much progress has been made on the mountain since it was documented as a muddy, rocky mess just a couple of weeks earlier.
The slideshow, featuring photos snapped on Wednesday, depicted Cypress as something of a winter wonderland.
“We have an exorbitant amount of snow in the higher elevations and we’ve been very, very confident that we have everything that we need to do up there at the mountain,” Gayda said.
The VANOC team also received a vote of confidence from the International Ski Federation (FIS), as well as the leader of the International Olympic Committee.
“The latest I heard from Cypress Mountain was positive news,” IOC president Jacques Rogge said during a conference call Thursday.
“The field of play is absolutely impeccable and ready for competition. There is still a little bit of working on the snow but competitions, according to the latest we got from VANOC, will take place on schedule in Cypress Mountain.”