Weather forces organizers to cancel 8,000 snowboard tickets

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – As sports fans were cheering at the moguls course on Cypress Mountain on Saturday night, Games officials were over at the snowboard courses, frowning.

Rain has washed away over a foot of snow at the general admission spectator area. Workers were falling into potholes and getting caught in the hay bales they used to build up the courses. Their decision was swift and firm: Close the area and give people back their money.

So to those with tickets for the general admission areas on Monday and Tuesday for snowboard cross: Stay home.

Though organizers had been trucking and flying in snow from all over the province to build the courses, those kind of measures aren't possible now that the Games are on. So they've got to save what snow they have for competition.

Organizers are refunding around 8,000 tickets. At $50 a ticket, that's a $400,000 hole in their budget – not much in the context of the $260 million they hope to make from ticket sales, but a hole nonetheless.

There's no word yet on how much all these problems overall at Cypress are costing the committee. Media are continuing to press Games officials on why they chose to have a Games in such a volatile venue. The answer keeps coming back that they knew they'd have weather issues – they just didn't expect them to be this big.

Vancouver Organizing Committee spokesperson Renee Smith-Valade told reporters on Sunday: "Cypress is like your special child. Your special child that's bright and talented and good-looking and causes you all kinds of worries but they are still your special child. That's what Cypress is."

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