IOC president Jacques Rogge says he is confident about Cypress snow at Vancouver Games

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VANCOUVER - The president of the International Olympic Committee will begin each day during the Winter Olympics with two things.
A cup of coffee and the weather forecast.
But Jacques Rogge said Monday that while it's clear there's no carpet of snow covering the city, there is no danger to the freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions at Cypress Mountain.
"There is no concern and there is no Plan B, " Rogge told reporters at his first news conference since arriving in Vancouver for the Games.
Moguls skiers began to train on the mountain in West Vancouver on Monday, but the media were prevented from covering their sessions, raising suspicion that despite claims to the contrary, all is not well on the mountain top.
But officials with the Canadian Snowboard Federation - who've seen their access to training time on the mountain cut - said if their race had been scheduled for Monday, they could have competed.
"The snow conditions up there are suitable for our events. I was up there the last couple of days. I have seen pictures. I have talked to our expertise staff on site and everything is all systems go," said Christian Hrab, director of high performance for the CSF.
"We'll be fine."
What remains to be done at Cypress are the final touches and that's why media are being kept off the hill until Tuesday, said Dave Cobb, deputy chief executive officer for the Vancouver organizing committee.
"Some of the things like the broadcast lighting and other overlay elements that can't go on until the courses are finished being built are now," he told reporters.
"It's that type of work that has a lot of construction type work going on. We just didn't want members of the media intermingled amongst that."
With Mother Nature not co-operating, Olympic organizers have turned to their chemistry set to keep things frosty at Cypress.
Tubes filled with dry ice have been placed in the moguls and the aerials course to keep snow from breaking down.
Pumped full of dry ice and frozen for 12 hours, the cold permeates the snow around it.
"The contingency plan is we're at Cypress, and the next one after that is we're at Cypress," said Peter Judge, chief executive officer of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.
"Come hell or rainwater, we'll be at Cypress."
Environment Canada says highs will hover around 3 C this week at Cypress, leading up to the first day of competition Saturday, when there is a 60 per cent chance of rain on the mountain on metro Vancouver's North Shore region.
The weather is also taking some pressure off athletes.
"I'm really excited about this lack of snow because now I don't have to answer questions about myself," said U.S. moguls skier Hannah Kearney.
"I just have to answer questions about snow and it's bringing attention to our sport."
While the weather conditions for the Games could easily have gone the other way - last winter saw record-setting snowfalls in Vancouver - Rogge said he's sensitive to the idea that the changing global climate could impact the future of the Winter Olympics.
"Global warming is, of course, something that is worrying the entire world on a big range of issues," he said. "It might affect in the long-term the staging of (future) Winter Games. But I can tell you already in the questions of the (IOC) Evaluation Commission, we . . . ask for statistics that are very clear. We want to know what the normal snow conditions are in a particular resort. Of course this is not a guarantee for the future. It's like in banking, the performance of the past is not a guarantee for the performance of the future."
While the weather is the most obvious problem in the final days leading down to the Games, what's also on the mind of IOC officials is protests on the day of the opening ceremonies.
Vancouver police have recently said they expect between 1,000 and 1,500 protesters in the first few days of the Olympics - a significantly larger number than many had previously expected - and protest organizers say they hope to exceed those figures.
"For us, it's not an issue -we accept protest, we accept people protesting. This is free democratic freedom of expression," said Rogge.
"What we want is no violence and we want the people to respect the laws of the country and then there is no problem."


Organizations: International Olympic Committee, Canadian Snowboard Federation, Canadian Freestyle Ski Association Environment Canada Evaluation Commission

Geographic location: West Vancouver, Cypress Mountain, North Shore U.S.

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