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Weather Plagues Calgary Olympic Skiing Site

March 06, 1987

Problems with the weather at Mt. Allan, near Calgary, Canada, have raised questions of its suitability as the site of the Alpine skiing events in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Practice runs for this weekend's World Cup women's downhill were called off Thursday because of near-tropical temperatures and gale-force winds that melted snow.

Wednesday, temperatures rose from below freezing to more than 55 degrees. Winds of up to 62 m.p.h. raked Mt. Allan's snowless summit. The mountain was hit by warm westerly winds known as chinooks, which sweep through Mt. Allan several times each winter.

The winds were so strong that even the chairlifts failed to function at times. Huge pools of water surrounded the lodge of Mt. Allan's Nakiska resort, built especially for next year's Calgary Olympics by the Alberta government at a cost of $20 million.

If the weather doesn't improve drastically, race officials admitted they would have to cancel the downhill.

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