The mild, but very normal, temperatures for this time of year have forced Sochi officials to use snow they reserved for the past two years.
“I cannot tell you how much. I just don’t know,” said Aleksandra Kosterina, spokeswoman for Sochi 2014, in an article from Olympic News Service. “I mean I don’t know the specifics but I know that we did.”
Sochi is a subtropical climate for Russia and a prime summer resort for the country. Yet, Russian President Vladimir Putin chose it for the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics (the first winter games in Russia) and they are feeling the consequences. The new 10 day forecast from The Weather Channel shows only one day below 50 degrees.
The snow will be used on mountain venues in Krasnaya Polyana. The last practice for women’s downhill was canceled because the temperatures caused the snow to be too soft. American skier Bode Miller said one course could kill someone. The slopestyles course was so dangerous American snowboarder Shaun White pulled out because of safety concerns. Snowboarder Merika Enne of Finland crashed and left on a stretcher.
Tuesday, some snowboarders continued to trip on the lip of the pipe or tumble in their landings. American snowboarder Taylor Gold said that soft snow, when it isn’t properly groomed, gets bumpy and rattles the competitors on their runs.
It’s kind of scary,” he said.
“Figuring out how to ride this thing is a challenge,” Taylor said. “When the weather’s warm like this it’s bound to get soft and I’m sure it’s a challenge to get it up to competition standard. Had this event been held in a firmer pipe it would be a much better contest because we would’ve had practice and people would be going bigger.”
The ski events actually take place an hour north of Sochi. Indoor events take place next to the Black Sea, which is warmer and surrounded by palm trees. US speed skater Patrick Meek said the humidity from the Black Sea make it difficult to achieve fast times.