KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — A persistent fog in the mountains outside Sochi has prompted race officials to postpone Monday’s men’s snowboard cross event. Snowboarders will return to Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Tuesday and hope conditions are better.
Riders seemed happy officials took a cautious approach, given the low visibility on the course.
“It’s an outdoor sport. This happens all the time,” said American Nate Holland. “I’m more thankful they were able to postpone it a day. This fog — it’s super dense up there. It’s the Olympics. We want to have the best rider win and not have anything screwy.”
Riders showed up at the course Monday morning and at times could only see 20 or so feet in front of them. After the morning qualifying runs were cancelled, riders sat through a brief delay in the afternoon while race officials considered their options.
On a steep course built for speed, Holland, appearing in his third Winter Games, said it would have been risky to race Monday. He did one practice run in the morning and said it was difficult to see anything.
“I was confident I’d be able to make it down,” he said. “But there’s a screwiness factor that no visibility adds. I thought it might become a Paralympic sport — blind boardercross — today.”
Though he woke up eager to compete Monday, Holland said he’ll have no problem summoning the same adrenaline tomorrow, assuming Mother Nature cooperates.
“That was a free high going up the chairlift. I was getting pumped,” he said. “It was just a dress rehearsal. So we’ll be back tomorrow and let it roll from there.”