TODAY   |  February 09, 2010

Olympic venues are feeling the heat

Vancouver is experiencing unseasonably warm weather this winter and snow is being shipped in to get the slope on Vancouver’s Cypress Mountain up to speed. TODAY’s Natalie Morales reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> you. and while the east coast is bracing for another big dumping of snow, they're kind of begging for snow here in vancouver. the city's experiencing one of the warmest winters on record. the high today expected around 50 degrees again. "today" national correspondent natalie morales is about 30 minutes to the north of us here at cyprus mountain, which is one of the competition venues and they have made an extraordinary effort there over the past couple weeks to get ready for the games. natalie , good morning to you.

>> and good morning to you, matt, as well from cypress this morning. this is the freestyle mogul ski run , and we are told it is now competition-ready as a result of all that hard work. but to give you an example of the effort that went into this, they had about a 2 1/2-inch natural snow base here to begin with. as you can see from the rocks off to the left of the course, that is what they were dealing with here, so mother nature has not been cooperating. but all that you see now is a result of all that hard work. let the games begin. okay, maybe not just yet. this is not the usual scenery you'd expect right before the winter olympics . while the rare sunny day here and mild winter weather is a blessing for the everyday athlete enjoying vancouver's great outdoors, for the olympic athletes and organizers, the warm-up is the one hitch in the otherwise very well-executed plans for these games.

>> in the mountains behind me, there's only about three feet of snow. last year at this time there was ten feet of snow. normally, we get periods of warm and colder weather alternating, but this year, since january 1st , it's been all heat.

>> reporter: cypress mountain , the venue for snowboarding and freestyle skiing , remains the only problem area.

>> we're dealing with a fairly freaky situation, but we're dealing with it, and our team has spent a lot more time on that mountain than off it in the last three to four weeks. they're doing a great job. it's a heroic effort, and the courses, i think, will be great.

>> reporter: hundreds of truckloads and airdrops of snow continue in a race against time before saturday's freestyle mogul skiing competitions.

>> we compete on the first day, so we've got to, you know, start getting our training ready, but i'm really excited to get up there, and i think that they've dealt with these conditions before, so they're going to do what they know how to do best and then, you know, that will allow us to do what we can do best.

>> reporter: her teammate, nate roberts , also is not too worried.

>> this is what we do. we compete, and you have to adjust to every single condition, you know, if it's icy, you know, wet, powdery. everybody's here in this competition because they're mentally tough and i think the most mentally tough person out there's going to come home with the gold.

>> reporter: meanwhile, at whistler, which is hosting the downhill men's ski jumping and sliding events, the story is quite the opposite with an unprecedented 32 feet of snow by the end of january.

>> whistler looks ready. if you were standing on any of the courses in whistler at any of the sites, you would say this is as good as it gets.

>> reporter: back here at cypress, now, i'm actually the first journalist they're letting in here this morning to assess the conditions here. i'm told, meanwhile, that the snowboarding venues are still a work in progress but nearly complete, and they will be ready by the time the competitions begin there monday the 15th. matt?

>> well, just quickly, natalie , how's it look to you? just turn around. does it look like a normal winter venue?

>> reporter: yeah. well, you know, as you can see, if we can pan off here, i mean, there's a lot of rock carved off to the side, as you can see, but this was a superhuman effort to bring snow. they've hauled over 300 truckloads of snow. they've brought snow from the top of the mountain down here to the base. and all of the venues, really, they're dealing here at cypress with this very situation.

>> right.

>> reporter: but the moguls are packed, and from what i understand, the mogul skiers have had no complaints with their practice run yesterday, matt.

>> all right, great, natalie . we're going to meet one of those mogul skiers later on. but right now, we're going