Russian officials are now confident that the mountain venues for the 2014 Sochi Olympics will have enough snow when competition begins in February.
With more than 20 inches of coverage on the ground already and recent avalanche warnings in the area, the country's chief forecaster said that concerns about a dry, bare winter have faded.
"For the snow cover this deep," Roman Vilfand, director of the Russian Meteorological Office, told the ITAR-Tass news agency, "this isn't a problem."
On Friday, the head of the Sochi organizing committee also announced that even if temperatures rise and the coverage melts, his crews have stored enough snow to last through the Olympics and the Paralympic Games that follow in March.
Dmitry Chernyshenko told Tass that organizers "can exhale -- (we) have prepared three times more than hoped" (link in Russian).
Some 450,000 cubic meters of last year's snowfall have been stored and organizers have installed a massive snow-making system.
(c)2013 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services