VANCOUVER, B.C. – Lenders have seized the Whistler Ski Resort, home of the 2010 Winter Olympic downhill races. On top of that, warm temperatures at Cypress Mountain have led to a desperate search for snow.
Whistler is in a financial free-fall. Lenders have seized Whistler Resort along with other assets of Intrawest ULC after a missed interest payment to its creditors.
But the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) says the skiing events will go on as planned.
"We're very confident that the Games will go on in those two venues in Whistler and will go on with the cooperation of the people who are running the mountain," said Dan Doyle, VANOC.
A notice of auction was posted in Canada's Globe and Mail yesterday. The auction is set for Feb. 19 – one week after the Opening Ceremony.
Yes, Whistler could change ownership in the middle of the Olympics.
VANOC says any new owner would want to generate as much revenue as possible.
"If this is a valuable asset, I want to maximize that asset and trying to disrupt the Olympics, I find so far anyways, I can't think of any reason that is to their advantage," said Rusty Goepel, VANOC Chairman
At Cypress Mountain, the problems are different. With no new snow predicted in the forecast and the temperatures too warm to make snow in time for the Games, Olympic organizers have gone to Plan C – truck in snow they've been stockpiling at higher elevations.
Organizers will use straw and wood to build the courses, then dump snow over that.
VANOC says the issues at Whistler and Cypress shouldn't cause problems for the Games, but having them surface just over three weeks before competition begins doesn’t help the positive image they've been trying to project.