Olympic mountain closes runs due to heavy rain

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VANCOUVER (AP) — The ski resort that will host freestyle and snowboarding events at the Vancouver Games is closed because of heavy rain.

The closure renews concerns about the mild climate during next month’s Olympics.

Soft snow conditions bordering on dangerous forced the cancellation of a men’s and women’s World Cup parallel giant slalom last winter.

But the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee (VANOC) remains confident there will be enough snow at Cypress Mountain for competition during the Feb. 12-28 games.

“A snow salvage project is under way to conserve snow, and VANOC will decide early on Wednesday whether more intensive snow management is needed,” VANOC said in a statement.

The government is providing $9 million in weather forecasting services during the Olympics, including an extensive network of weather stations and wind monitors.

Cypress Mountain spokesman Kent Rideout said warm temperatures and rain have caused some snow to melting off the mountain located on Vancouver’s north shore.

“I don’t think it’s a panic situation but certainly both the mountain and VANOC are looking at this closely,” Rideout said.

He said there’s about 6.5 feet of man-made snow covering the areas which will be used during the Olympics.

“The venues still look to be in very good shape right now,” Rideout said. “They will return to making snow again as soon as the temperatures come back down.”