Light snowfall, rising temperatures and worrisome winds from the south were in the forecast Wednesday morning, just hours before the opening ceremonies of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships (Ski-VM 2011) in Oslo. Organizers were hoping a change in the weather wouldn’t spoil all their plans.
After a long spell of sub-freezing temperatures with lots of snow and weeks of cold but sunny weather, grey skies and fog were predicted for the next few days. Temperatures were forecast to rise to above the freezing point for the first time in months, just when organizers of Ski-VM don’t want that to happen.
They’ve been working hard to prepare ski trails and create the best possible setting for the thousands expected to trek up to Holmenkollen in the hills above Oslo, where all Nordic skiing and ski jumping competitions will be held. A sudden spell of warmer weather, with even some rain or sleet in the forecast, could spoil conditions both on the trails and in the stands.
State meteorologists warned of heavy grey skies, fog, snow and sleet through Saturday. No sunshine was expected before Monday, meaning that spectators at Friday’s ski jumping competition at Midtstuen may have to peer through the gloom to see the jumpers. Cross-country skiers participating in Thursday’s sprint events were told to expect snowfall and temperatures of minus-3C, better conditions than those expected Saturday when skiers in the women’s 7.5-kilometer and men’s 10-kilometer races could face challenging nullføre – soft tracks caused by temperatures above the freezing point.
The Norwegian ski team wasn’t taking any chances with the weather, and hired in their own state meteorologist to help both the athletes and those preparing their equipment make the best choices. Jarl Andersen, a well-known weatherman on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s nightly national news, will be updating weather forecasts and snow conditions several times a day, reported newspaper Aftenposten.
Better weather was forecast for next week, for spectators at least, with clear sunny skies and temperatures of 3C. The warmer weather won’t be great for athletes or organizers, who already have had to defend the expense of mounting Ski-VM 2011 and have been hoping to attract more spectators with thousands of tickets still unsold.
For program and other practical information about Ski-VM 2011, click here. (external link)