OLYMPICS

Sochi Games temps climb into 50s, organizers say it’s not a problem

Warm weather has taken a toll on the snow pack at the Sochi Winter Olympics. From the Laura Nordic Center on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, the Caucasus Mountain showed plenty of snow cover at higher elevations, but lower areas of the mountain were showing the signs of warmer weather.
Tom Peterson | MCT
Warm weather has taken a toll on the snow pack at the Sochi Winter Olympics. From the Laura Nordic Center on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, the Caucasus Mountain showed plenty of snow cover at higher elevations, but lower areas of the mountain were showing the signs of warmer weather.
Posted Feb. 12, 2014, at 6:40 a.m.

SOCHI, Russia — The sun is shining and temperatures feel more like spring than winter but at the Sochi Olympics — the ultimate spectacle of ice and snow — that is not a problem.

Quizzed about whether some events might be affected by the mild weather, the International Olympic Committee said there was nothing to worry about.

“We are getting a little bit premature here,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters on Wednesday.

“I was at some of the events yesterday and it doesn’t seem to me to be an issue. I gather snow is coming at the weekend and that temperatures will go down.”

Before more snow arrives, temperatures are forecast to crawl up further in the next two days, to a high of around 61 degrees Fahrenheit in Sochi and at least 54 degrees in the nearby mountains.

Temperatures at the Extreme Park on Wednesday were 52 degrees in the shade and 59 in the sun, according to Oleg Kitov, deputy competition manager for the freestyle skiing and snowboarding venue.

“The conditions have been difficult for the last eight days,” Kitov told reporters. “Before that, it was a mixture of natural and artificial snow, now it’s more like a granular snow on the surface.

“There is no plan to bring in more snow, but we will see what happens. Every morning it is quite safe, but our concern now is mostly about (warm temperatures in) the daytime,” he said.

No postponements

Adams said previous winter Games had seen postponements of events but that was not the case in Sochi so far.

“I think I am right in saying, everything has happened and on schedule so far, so if this is a problem then let’s have more of them. It seems quite good,” Adams said.

Sochi’s pitch to the IOC to host the Games focused heavily on the contrasting climates of subtropical Sochi and the snow-capped mountains of Krasnaya Polyana and Adams said it was proving to be an ideal setting.

“I love the blue sky. The pictures are fantastic. The first day of the slopestyle was just breathtaking and, by the way, it’s a bit chilly in the evenings,” he said.

“I was up at the snow pipe last night, I think it got down to minus something, so it seems to be freezing in the night.

“In a lot of ski resorts it’s a similar picture so actually, at this stage, I do not think it is a problem.”

On Tuesday, some athletes complained that the warm temperatures were starting to affect the quality of the snow, but just a day later they were relishing the glorious sunshine.

“Yesterday it was pretty fast. Today was even faster, faster than the downhill race,” said Alpine skier Alexis Pinturault.

“The snow is softer. It was pleasant. The ground is excellent but it goes faster and you can easily be taken by surprise by the speed.

“We have to do things faster than yesterday. You have to get used to this kind of snow.”

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