The PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) has said it is on course to meet a deadline to stage its first test event, despite concerns from the International Ski Federation (FIS).
An FIS men’s World Cup downhill and super-G event are scheduled to take place at the Jeongseon resort from February 6-7, with POCOG having until January 20 to complete preparations. The event will be the first test of facilities in Korea, with the Jeongseon Alpine Center due to host Olympic skiing events during the 2018 Games.
However, the FIS has raised concerns over the setting up of gondolas and other mandatory facilities at the resort. Poor weather conditions at the venue have also hampered progress, with four concrete pillars erected to serve as middle stations requiring reinforcement.
Organisers last week said work was approximately 53 per cent complete at the resort, with 60 per cent required in order to stage the test events. The gondola system has not yet been finished while warm weather in the region could cause problems with a snow-making machine that will be used to cover the slope with snow.
“They have some delays,” FIS World Cup director Markus Waldner said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “The concrete was the problem. They made some mistakes in the construction of the concrete. I heard that the snow-making system started to work. But you cannot push the button if (it's too warm). So they're struggling with the weather also.”
Waldner said the FIS has also had trouble convincing local officials that they need to have helicopters at the races in case of medical emergencies. “We had a long discussion,” he added. “No helicopter means no race for us. Our president informed them because they tried to offer us ambulances and so on. No, downhill World Cup needs two helicopters. This is a must. No helicopter, no race.”
However, POCOG spokesman Sung Baik-you told the Korea Times newspaper that preparations for the test event are in their final stage, stating that organisers are committed to hosting the event as scheduled.
“It is a promise with the rest of the world,” Sung said. “We are aware that there is not much time and various factors caused a small delay to the initial plan, but personnel in Jeongseon are working day and night to meet the January 20 deadline.”
POCOG is scheduled to host 28 test events in the lead up to the Games.