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Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Vancouver 2010 slope closed 'to preserve snow'

Left: Snowboarder in Hampshire. Right: Worker at Cypress Mountain
Snowboards get a rare outing in Hampshire, UK (left) while a Cypress Mountain worker avoids the rain in Vancouver (right)

Vancouver 2010's snowboard and freestyle skiing venue has been closed to the public to preserve the snow.

While Britain battles large quantities of snow, the Cypress Mountain Winter Olympic venue is struggling after several days of warm, wet weather.

"Closing early is the responsible thing to do, given the recent weather," said Vancouver organiser Tim Gayda.

The venue closed to the public on Wednesday, 17 days early, as an "intensive snow salvage project" began.

Olympic organisers have been stockpiling snow at higher altitudes as a precaution, and will also use the closure to make an early start on last-minute preparation work ahead of the Winter Olympics, which commence on 12 February.

Warming tents, fencing, signs and banners will be set up, and snowmaking will resume as soon as the temperature drops.

Cypress Mountain artificially generates snow with a snowmaking reservoir of more than 22.7m litres of water, but recent weather has seen the condition of snow on the ground deteriorate.

Sign at Cypress Mountain
The slope has been closed to the public more than two weeks early

The venue had already closed for two days earlier in the week after heavy rain.

British athletes such as Zoe Gillings (snowboard cross), Sarah Sauvey (ski cross), Ben Kilner (half-pipe) and Ellie Koyander (moguls) are hoping to compete at Cypress Mountain in February.

Britain's skiers and snowboarders for the Winter Olympics will be announced on 26 January.

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see also
GB hopes for best Winter Olympics
10 Dec 09 |  Vancouver 2010
Vancouver 2010: Going for Green?
10 Sep 09 |  Americas

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