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January 18, 2010 / Dave Gorham

BC Snow Melt?


Snow Melting in Vancouver, Site of 2010 Winter Olympics.

Many people are gearing up for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in less than a month. And there are worries that the recent mild winter weather will melt the snow. A series of Pacific storms have moved through Vancouver with rain and unseasonably warm temperatures melting snow on Cypress Mountain. That’s the site for freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions. With the spring-like weather in place, Olympic officials are now limiting public access to ski venues.

Officials say not to worry – there will be enough snow for all events and they’ve taken into account the possibility of warmer weather leading up to or during the events. Although airport officials are indeed considering “What if?” and are planning for a major snow storm to occur at the worst possible moment – either the first couple of days or the last couple of days. Airport ops have ordered extra snow-removal equipment and have been working to increase deicing capacity. Fortunately, much of Vancouver’s rail system, including a new subway which is of course underground.

Unlike the Chinese Olympic organizers who arranged cloud seeding in an attempt to allay the fears of heavy rains for the opening ceremonies, Canadian officials are not planning any “weather control” projects. Additional weather monitoring equipment is now in place and will alert authorities immediately to changing conditions.

On Cypress Mountain, crews have been pushing unmelted snow into piles to protect it and are preparing to bring snow down from higher elevations where temperatures are colder. Due to the need to move snow, public access to the ski facility had to close earlier than expected. Colder temperatures are expected to return to Canada’s Pacific Coast next week and crews will continue snow-making on the mountain.

Whistler Mountain, home of the alpine and nordic events, is 80 miles north of Vancouver and at a higher elevation. Snow-melt concerns there are less dire. Indeed, they have not been affected by the current melt-off like Cypress.


The Winter Olympics begin February 12, 2010.


Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Main contributor to this post: Megan Krannig.






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