Last week, ladies' downhill skiing was halted after three runs because one jump was dangerously large and hadn't been properly tested. But at least courseworkers were able to fix it. Meanwhile, the snowboard halfpipe is in terrible shape, and according to a Yahoo report, one rider says it's "unsalvageable."
Practice was postponed this morning as organizers desperately try to get the halfpipe into rideable shape. The problem lies in the flat bottom, which riders say is filled with bumps and dry, granulated snow—both of which threaten to throw snowboards off their lines and slow down entries into the wall, leading to smaller air.
"It's the Olympics. It should be flawless," American Danny Davis told Yahoo Sports. "What a lame showcase of snowboarding, and what a lame way to treat the athletes."
Riders suspect that the problems stem from fixes made to the halfpipe on Saturday to correct another issue with the vertical edges. Most of the practical blame is falling on the New Zealand company contracted to build and maintain the pipe—the IOC had already come under criticism for engaging what's considered by many in the sport an inferior company.
"The IOC probably didn't want to pay the right guys to do it," Davis said. "I'm pretty sure what they're focused on is keeping as much money in their hands as possible. That's the shame of it all. All these kids, myself included, worked very hard to get here. And then the pipe is just no fun and boring and [expletive]. Halfpipe is super fun. But riding a crappy pipe and having to perform in it is the worst."
Unnamed riders told Yahoo's Jeff Passan that the pipe is "garbage" and "unsalvageable," and organizers have already indicated they won't lay down chemicals that could flatten out the bottom. Practice that was supposed to begin at 7:30 a.m. local time today was pushed back until tonight, so riders will get just the one look at the current pipe conditions before competition begins tomorrow morning.
American snowboarder blasts Sochi halfpipe as 'garbage' [Yahoo Sports]