Advertisement

Snow sports at B.C. Winter Games cancelled due to lack of snow

More than 1,200 athletes from across B.C. will still participate in the Lhtako Quesnel 2024 B.C. Winter Games from Feb. 22-25, event organizers say. (BC Games Society - image credit)
More than 1,200 athletes from across B.C. will still participate in the Lhtako Quesnel 2024 B.C. Winter Games from Feb. 22-25, event organizers say. (BC Games Society - image credit)

The upcoming B.C. Winter Games won't have any snow sports, according to the B.C. Games Society — because there's no snow.

The B.C. Alpine, Freestyle B.C. and B.C. Snowboard sporting organizations have withdrawn from the 2024 B.C. Winter Games set to take place in Lhtako Quesnel from Feb. 22 to 25 "due to unfavourable snow conditions," the event organizer said Thursday.

"A lack of snowpack on the mountain at Troll Ski Resort and the absence of heavy snowfall in the forecast influenced the final decision," the B.C. Gaming Society said in a news release.

"Mountain-based sports, already facing a difficult and shortened winter season, require significant snowpack and technical venue builds to run safe and meaningful competition."

WATCH | What low snowpack levels mean for B.C.: 

About 240 athletes are impacted, B.C. Games Society president and CEO Allison Noble told CBC News.

The news comes after a report that snowpack levels in B.C. are currently 39 per cent below normal.

"We've certainly had other reasons why Games couldn't go ahead, or portions of the Games, but this has been the first time I'm aware of in the history of the Games that we had to cancel these three sports," said Noble.

Biathlon and cross-country events will take place regardless of snow conditions, and will compete on dry land or in "modified scenarios," the release said.

"Biathlon is typically a ski and shoot sport competition, so changing that to a run and shoot if there isn't enough snow for them to actually ski is an example of a modification, and that actually was done in a previous Games and worked very well and still made sure the sport was safe," said Noble.

Indoor events across 11 other sports are unaffected and the Games are expected to draw more than 1,200 athletes, she added.

Submitted by Marcel Vonah
Submitted by Marcel Vonah

Freestyle skier Hayden Vonah, 14, says he and his teammates were "pretty upset" to learn they won't be among them.

"I was really excited to go and meet some new people, and just for the experience," he told CBC News from Prince George. "I got really bummed that I couldn't go out there and compete."

Vonah's dad Marcel says they were hoping for snow as the dry conditions also disrupted training.

"We got off to a late start and then we did get some snow and then the cold snap came in and that affected us," he said.

Noble said the difficult decision was made in consultation with the sporting associations affected.

"It's a really unfortunate turn of events, one that none of us saw coming, and it impacts, definitely, their experience," she said, noting athletes are still welcome at the Games and will be receiving participation certificates.

"We know that that's not the competition they thought they were going to get."