Too much snow and almost too many elk
LAKE LOUISE, Alta.—They cancelled the skiing here Thursday because it is snowing.
Does this make sense? Is this not like cancelling a swim because it is raining? Or bagging the kite-flying because it’s too windy?
Well, no, not quite. The second training run for Saturday’s opener of the World Cup ski season, speed division, the men’s downhill, was wiped out because snow just isn’t what you need in the air. On the ground, yes, but there’s a problem with visibility because these guys are traveling something like 130 km/h and seeing where you are going at that speed would be something of a help, no?
Speaking of visibility, you can’t see Lake Louise from the beautiful (and expensive) old headquarters hotel here and the lake is about 125 feet away. So . . . we sit.
Organizers also would like competitors to be on some kind of reasonably level footing, too, and enough snow is falling that will change the character of the course for the 93 skiers entered.
They ran the first practice run Wednesday, with Robbie Dixon in fourth as top-placed Canadian, and they will try again Friday, scheduling another attempt at 11 a.m. local time. The weather forecast is calling for more of the same, so if they don’t get in a second run Friday, they can still run the race as scheduled Saturday with only the one practice session.
Europeans finished 1-2-3 Wednesday and perhaps they feel at home because of the prices in the hotel here. It’s pushing $8 for a coffee and a morning muffin. It’s like being in Switzerland, with less yodelling.
None of this snow, by the way, translates into a blanket of the white misery for the Grey Cup, which is slightly more than 180 kilometres east of here Calgary this coming Sunday. It was dry and mild at Calgary when the plane got in Wednesday night. On the drive over, the snow didn’t start until about the final 60 kilometres. There were also numerous enormous horned animals by the side of the highway, always a treat to skim past on a pitch-dark night. Signs warned of elk crossing and that must have been them. Too bad I forgot my Taser.