Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fog, heavy snow brings chaos to Games

VANCOUVER — Alpine skiing events on the opening day of the 2010 Paralympics fell victim to the weather on Saturday in a worrying echo of the problems which plagued the recent Winter Olympics.

Weather played havoc with the downhill events, which were due to produce six gold medallists, in in the mountain resort of Whistler.

But instead of melting snow, the problem was fog and heavy snow.

"Men's and women's downhill events scheduled for Saturday have been postponed due to poor visibility caused by persistent fog," Vancouver Paralympic organizers announced in a news release.

Competitors had spent hours at the Creekside venue in Whistler waiting for the weather to clear.

More snow, or snow and rain, were forecast from Sunday through to Wednesday by the Environment Canada weather service.

While authorities issued a warning that the avalanche risk is "extreme" in the area, normally avalanches do not affect the ski resort or transportation corridors.

Early Saturday a bus chartered for the Games slid off the icy Sea to Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler, but no one was hurt, reported the Vancouver Sun.

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