SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Sochi Olympic organizers see no need to bring in stored snow to cope with the warm temperatures in the mountains — but are ready to do so if necessary.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the local organizing committee, said Tuesday that contingency plans are in place for covering slopes with snow preserved in reservoirs from previous winters.
Organizers have stored about 700,000 cubic meters (25 million cubic feet) of snow near the mountain venues above Sochi.
"In case we will need some snow, we can use it from our reservoirs," Chernyshenko said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We don't need it now. We didn't start our backup plan yet."
Temperatures in Sochi on the Black Sea coast have been rising, raising concerns about snow conditions. On Tuesday, temperatures reached 11 C (52 F) along the coast and 5 C (41 F) in the Alpine cluster in Krasnaya Polyana.
"It's not a big surprise for us," Chernyshenko said. "We're a sub-tropical city. We tested our mountain venues for the couple of previous winter seasons. We faced some abnormal warm weather."
Conditions at the halfpipe venue have been under particular scrutiny, with riders complaining about sand and mush at the bottom. Organizers said they would use chemicals to keep the ice frozen at higher temperatures.
"The weather is very unpredictable," Chernyshenko said. "Our forecast says the temperature will go down in a couple of days. We hope that no extra measures are needed."
Sochi also boasts Europe's largest snow-making system, which can even make snow at temperatures up to 15 C (60 F). Chernyshenko said snow-making was being used at the ski jump of the Nordic combined venue.
Meanwhile, Chernyshenko said he was relieved the focus has turned to the athletes and the competitions after the buildup to the games was dominated by security and political concerns.