Olympic snowboarders are call on officials to postpone the halfpipe event due to performance and safety concerns.
When the snowboard athletes had their first practice on the halfpipe they felt it was unsafe due to over vertical walls. So on Saturday, New Zealand contractor Development Snowparks recut the halfpipe’s 22-foot walls. Now after damage resulting from practice sessions in daytime temperatures reaching the 50s, athletes across the board are complaining about the pipe’s flat transition zone filled with loose, sugary snow that they criticize for hampering speed and performance, possibly a result of the earlier wall-cutting efforts.
Monday’s scheduled practice in the halfpipe was postponed until evening to allow pipe cutters to improve conditions. Australia’s Torah Bright, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, cut her training session short following a crash, calling conditions in the halfpipe “really harsh.” American phenom Shaun White indicated that he cannot perform his best tricks in the current halfpipe, including his new cab double cork 1440, and teammate Hannah Teter – herself a two-time gold medalist – called for organizers to postpone the event until conditions improve.
Many athletes are blaming Sochi organizers for contracting with Development Snowparks to build the halfpipe instead of internationally recognized Snowpark Technologies of Verdi, Nev.