Is your city colder than Sochi? Probably

by Feb 11, 10:20 AM

The Olympic Games have plenty of factors working against the notion of fairness. Judged sports, for one. 

Stoked Sage Kotsenburg earned a gold medal in Sochi for his smooth style in the slopestyle event over Mark McMorris' renowned technical attention to detail. And let's not even talk about figure skating transitions until we absolutely have to (and inevitably, we'll have to again, and again, and again).

The winter's most watched stage has the near-impossible task of physically remaining the same for challengers (read: fair). It's easier said than done when you're talking about an event that could take hours, or even days to complete. 

Several moguls competitors noted the need for an increased attention to detail from one chairlift ride to the next. The halfpipe is already proving to be a pesky venue during qualifications -- which are taking upwards of two hours per group.

Skier Ashley Caldwell (@AshleySkis) took her shorts outside of the dining hall for a Tuesday photo

Vancouver was the warmest city to ever host a winter Olympics, but Sochi is giving the moderate climate of the 2010 host a real run for its money. Four years ago today, the Games were a day away from kicking off with a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In Sochi, it's expected to be a positively balmy 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 celcius) on Thursday -- and there are medals on the line. The warmest Vancouver day during the games was 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12.5 Celcius).

As the temperatures plunge to uncharacteristic lows across North America, we wondered if a tropical vacation to Sochi was worth the lack of door handles and shower curtains. 

From Accuweather, here are Tuesday's highs across the wintery hemisphere ...bring on the rusty water!

Where?Tueday's high ºF(ºC)
Sochi, Russia55 (12.7)
New York, NY18 (-7.9)
Anchorage, AK16 (-9.8)
Denver, CO49 (9.4)
Milwaukee, WI14 (-10)
Dallas, TX35 (1.6)
Atlanta, GA40 (4.4)
Detroit, MI17 (-8.3)
Vancouver, BC46 (7.7)
Edmonton, AB2 (-16.6)
Moscow, Russia27 (-2.7)
Tokyo, Japan31 (-1)
Reykjavik, Iceland37 (2.7)
Feb 14, 8:45 AM

Why is this cross-country skier wearing shorts and a t-shirt during a race?

by Feb 14, 8:45 AM

Temperatures in Krasnaya Polyana, at the site of Friday's men's cross country skiing 15 kilometer classic, went up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), causing Norwegian competitor Chris Andre Jespersen to alter his usual uniform a little bit.

Earlier this week, officials began combating the warm weather by transporting snow that had been saved and stored for the last year at a higher altitude for just such an occasion. This gives an entirely new meaning to the term "snow bank."

While there have been complaints from competitors over the conditions on some of the courses, no skiing or snowboarding events have been delayed thus far.

Feb 13, 11:38 AM

Warm weather's kind of a problem at the Winter Olympics

by Feb 13, 11:38 AM

We don't know if you've heard, but it's pretty hot in Sochi. The temperature hit 63 degrees on Thursday, and that sent officials and workers scrambling to make sure outdoor events weren't affected. Turns out, they were. 

The New York Times' John Branch and Sam Dolnick write:

A practice session for the men’s aerials competition scheduled for Thursday night was canceled, and the men’s super combined ski race on Friday was moved to 10 a.m. local time from 11 a.m. to avoid midday temperatures expected to approach the mid-50s. Crews have begun adding snow, some of which was stockpiled from last year, to portions of the course.

For most of the mountain venues, the issue is not the amount of snow, but its condition. Workers at the Laura Biathlon & Ski Complex spread more than a ton of a salt mixture across the cross-country skiing courses on Thursday to help improve the slushy areas, a strategy also employed at the site of Alpine skiing across the valley where all the outdoor events are held.

Here's a look at how warm the Sochi Games have been compared to Winter Olympics since Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994:

[Courtesy: The Wall Street Journal]

It hasn't snowed in Sochi since the games began. Temperatures aren't dropping that much at night, either. Some women competing in the 10km cross-country event on Thursday did so in T-shirts and tank tops. People are tanning on the rocks along the Sochi coast, and hanging out on the grass at Olympic Park.

[Courtesy Reuters]

The International Olympic Committee? They're not too concerned. 

"Every event has happened, and on schedule so far," said communications director Mark Adams. "So if this is a problem, then let’s have more of them. It seems quite good."

Snow isn't the issue - there are reserves, as has been pointed out. But skiers shouldn't be skating through slush at the Olympics. 

Russian skier Anton Gafarov, who broke his ski in a sprint on Tuesday, before being helped by a Canadian coach, didn't hold back about the conditions. "The course isn't fit for an Olympics," he said

Feb 12, 9:35 AM

Sochi is warmer than L.A. right now

by Feb 12, 9:35 AM

It's 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) in Sochi on Wednesday. To put that in context, consider that at the same time in Los Angeles, the temperature is 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius).

Given that an outdoor hockey game was played in L.A. earlier this "winter," perhaps we have a dark horse candidate to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Feb 11, 7:35 AM

It's heating up in Sochi, but organizers won't use stored snow yet

by Feb 11, 7:35 AM

Temperatures are rising and turning Olympic venues into slush, but organizers will not dig into their stockpile of stored snow. A high of  54 degrees Fahrenheit or 12 degrees Celcius is expected for Tuesday.

"We don't need it," Sochi chief Dmitry Chernyshenko told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Officials have 25,000 cubic feet of snow stored away for emergencies, which was gathered from previous winters. This is not a new concept - Vancouver also had snow storage for the 2010 Olympics and shipped it in from the Rockies.