Another Alpine skiing event canceled, this time because of snow

Chris Chase

First it was too warm. Then it was too rainy. Next it was too slushy. And now it's too snowy. At least we're making progress.

For the third time in the first four days of the 2010 Winter Olympics, an Alpine skiing event was canceled at Whistler Mountain due to weather conditions. Tuesday's men's super combined, a race in which Americans Bode Miller and Ted Ligety were expected to contend for a medal, was called off because of heavy snow at the top of Whistler.

Shouldn't snow be good for skiing? Isn't a lack of snow what organizers of the Games have been fretting about for months?

Yes, but like all things, snow is only good in moderation. As Bill Pennington explains in The New York Times:

Heavy snowfall makes it dangerous to contest the downhill portion because the racecourse must be hard and fast, not snow-covered. The snowfall also affects visibility; good visibility is necessary for downhillers to race safely at high speeds.

The forecast looks good for the remainder of the week. With the women's downhill scheduled for Wednesday, the men's super combined is expected to be moved to Friday.

If the weather holds and the rest of the events go off as scheduled, the first three cancellations will be remembered merely as nuisances. But if conditions deteriorate again, this could be just the beginning of a disastrous fortnight in Whistler.