Major Snowfall Ends Worry Over Olympic Slopes


January 29, 2006

SESTRIERE, Italy (AP)—There are no more snow worries for the Turin Olympics. Over the last four days, up to 2 feet of snow has fallen on the mountains that will host the Winter Games.

It began snowing at the games' Alpine center of Sestriere on Thursday and it was still coming down at noon Sunday, said ski competition manager Gianni Poncet.

``On the average we got 50-60 centimeters (20-24 inches),'' Poncet said.

The end of the storm was forecast for late Sunday or Monday morning.

The International Ski Federation voiced concern earlier this month that there was not sufficient snow cover on the games' ski courses. Organizers responded by saying they were fine because of artificial snow.

``There weren't any problems before. But it helps in terms of setting the scene, creating a nice post card for the area,'' Poncet said.

About a thousand workers have been working to groom the courses and Poncet said now he's hoping it doesn't snow again.

``To tell you the truth, I hope it just stays like this until the 26th,'' he said.

The Turin Games run Feb. 10-26 and the first skiers are due to arrive for training on Feb. 1.

``We will have the courses ready for training,'' Poncet said.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press