Outdoor Oval Still A Go For Winter Games Races
Prince George, B.C. – Will the outdoor ice oval be race fit for week one competition of the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George?
While there is no firm answer to that question two days before the competition is to begin, those closest to the situation are leaning toward the Long Track Speed Skating taking place at the appointed venue. However it is possible some modifications to the current schedule will be required due to warm temperatures and rain.
Friday is a practice day, Saturday and Sunday are race days, Monday is another practice day with racing resuming Tuesday and concluding Wednesday. The forecast isn’t too promising until Saturday night. Showers, high 6, low 3 today. Showers, high 7, low 4 on Friday. Cloudy Saturday with a high of 5 but a low of minus 5. From then through to next Wednesday plenty of sunshine, highs just above zero and lows down around minus 10 to minus 13. The cold lows are the key.
Outdoor Ice Oval President Kathy Lewis, who is directly liaising with Games officials, says “as far as I know we are still a go. The Speed Skate Canada technical rep is here and they are quite prepared to delay the start of the events until we get the weather on Saturday night and Sunday.”
“From Sunday forward it is spectacular weather for outdoor speed skating because we have the cold overnight that will help us with doing ice maintenance and then during the day its pleasant temperatures for skating. So as long as we get the weather that’s forecast, and so far the actual weather has tracked as forecast quite well, so I think it’s a fairly stable forecast and as long as that follows through we shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever. We’re just not going to be able to start on Friday as scheduled as a practice day.”
The Speed Skate Canada Technical Representative to the 2015 Games, Christina Chenard, says no decision has been made about possibly altering the race schedule. “We won’t make that call until we have our Chief Referee on the ground. We have an Ice Committee and we review the ice and the weather every day. We won’t make a call until literally the day before and potentially the day of our first day of racing.”
“The volunteers, Kathy and her whole crew, have built a fabulous base of ice so we can withstand quite a deal of weather, of warming up and freezing, warming up and melts because of the base that they have in place and the work they’ve been doing. So all we need is some cold weather overnight and we can maintain ice of more than skateable conditions. As of right now we plan on starting on Saturday as per our regular schedule, but we’ll make that call sometime on Friday.”
Chenard says “it really is hour by hour, plus we have other options available to us within the structure. If it’s going to be colder earlier in the day , so say early morning before the sun comes up, or later in the evening after the sun goes down we can shift when we start our racing to go when its colder, when the ice conditions would be more favorable. We’ll make the best call for the competition to be here in Prince George.”
An added bonus for organizers is that they have exclusive use of the outdoor ice oval for the Games’ Long Track Speed Skating events, providing flexibility to alter the schedules if need be.