Snow conditions force race delay

Updated: February 12, 2010, 5:31 PM ET
Associated Press

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Snow conditions forced the first delay at the Vancouver Olympics, postponing the women's super-combined Alpine ski race.

The women had been scheduled to race Sunday, and a new date was not immediately announced Friday.

A heavy overnight rain made the course soft and unsafe, leading organizers to cancel training runs planned for Friday and also Saturday when the men's downhill race is scheduled on the adjacent slope.

"The snow is too heavy," women's race director Atle Skaardal said. "We need to give full priority to the men's downhill."

The status of the men's marquee race remains in jeopardy.

"I think they have a huge challenge based on the weather forecast we have," Skaardal said. "It will be an extremely difficult day for maybe the most important event of the Games in terms of Alpine skiing."

The first women's training session Thursday was scrapped after only two skiers because of heavy fog and snow. After two delays Friday, it was again called off, along with men's training.

The women were able to inspect the course, though.

"If you get frustrated now then you will lose the Games," Sweden's Anja Paerson said. "We're having a good time, doing some free skiing, getting the hours going. We will race, but it depends on which day. We're just trying to prepare and not think too much."

The delays are benefiting U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn, giving her badly bruised shin more time to heal. She skied down the hill for a second straight day.

"The course is in pretty rough shape due to all the warm weather and rain," Vonn reported on her Facebook account. "The course crews are doing the best they can but it's hard to overcome Mother Nature."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press