Ontario beats P.E.I., moves into top spot at Scotties Tournament of Hearts
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. (CP) — Ontario’s Krista McCarville improved to 6-1 and took sole possession of first place after Draw 11 at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 9-3 victory over P.E.I.’s Kathy O’Rourke on Tuesday night.
O’Rourke sits in a second-place tie with Canada’s Jennifer Jones at 5-2.
Earlier, Jones rebounded from a tough Monday to post back-toback victories.
Jones beat Alberta’s Valerie Sweeting 9-7 before upending B.C.’s Kelly Scott 10-7.
Jones, the defending champion, lost twice Monday after starting the tournament with a 3-0 record.
In other late action, Quebec defeated Northwest Territories/Yukon 6-5, New Brunswick topped Saskatchewan 8-7 and Nova Scotia outlasted Newfoundland 7-6.
B.C., Quebec and Manitoba sit at 4-3 after Draw 11, followed by New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Albert, which all stand at 3-4.
Newfoundland and Northwest Territories/Yukon are 2-5, with Nova Scotia at 1-6. VANCOUVER — If warm temperatures and lack of snow weren’t causing enough headaches for 2010 Games organizers at outdoor Olympic venues, Vancouver’s wily weather can also wreak havoc indoors.
Organizers are working around the clock to ready the freestyle skiing and snowboarding courses in the spring-like conditions at Cypress Mountain, on Vancouver’s North Shore, but venue operators in the city have their own battles to wage.
Both the curling centre and the Olympic speedskating oval have built-in measures to combat the region’s high level of humidity.
“ When spectators come in or anybody comes in and it’s been raining outside, your jacket dries off,” Neil Houston, sport manager for curling at the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Centre, said in a recent interview.
“It’s just like the environment. It evaporates up into the air and it’s going to circulate and we work really hard to make sure that as it circulates, it does not come down on top of the ice surface.”
Houston, a former world junior curling champion, said air handler units have been fixed to the ceiling to suck any excess moisture away from the field of play.
“One thing that people don’t know because we are an indoor venue is that the outside environment can have a very positive or negative impact on the field of play,” he said.
“ This venue has very extensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems which allows us to control the humidity and the temperature, which ultimately leads down to the playing conditions.”
Brian Eaton, the venue’s general manager, said planners got a good feel for what they’re up against last February and March when the facility hosted the world wheelchair curling championship and the world junior curling championship.
But that audience was only one-third of what it will be during the Winter Games.
“On our best days, we had 2,000 (spectators) or so,” he said. “So when you add another 4,000 in, plus the humidity and everything else, it’s definitely going to change the dynamics to the building. That’s why we’ve done things like, we’ve added extra air handlers, we’ve added extra dehumidifiers, just so we can pump out all that humidity.”
In a memo on Olympic icemaking, Games organizers say it’s their priority to keep humidity at indoor venues at about 45 per cent. Anything more could cause frost, which could in turn affect speed.
Dave Cobb, executive vicepresident and deputy chief executive officer for the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee, or VANOC, says he had many brushes with humidity during his tenure as an employee of the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks.
“ We would always get a little bit worried about the humidity and the quality of the air as the team made it further into the playoffs and we got into warmer weather,” he said Tuesday.
“ These venues have been fit out to deal far better than I’ve ever experienced before with humidity.”
Matt MacDonald, a meteorologist at Environment Canada, said the amount of water vapour in the Vancouver air is no surprise.
The average relative humidity for the month of January was 87 per cent in the city; it was 66 per cent in Calgary, which hosted the Winter Games in 1988.
MacDonald said he understands why 2010 venue operators worked so hard to try and combat humidity.
“I could see how it’s an avid factor to consider,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s a surprise. We’re right on the side of the Pacific Ocean so it’s definitely a humid place. It’s a rainforest, after all.”
When asked what sort of weather Vancouver residents and visitors can expect leading up to the Games, MacDonald said the above average temperatures should continue, but the news isn’t all bad.
“ The forecast, at least over the next week, looks wet but not huge amounts of rain,” he said, adding that snow-starved Cypress Mountain might well get some more fresh powder.
Cobb said the Richmond speedskating oval has taken some unique steps to control the humidity level.
“ When spectators walk through, there’s, in effect, a double-dooring system,” he said. “ You walk into tents first and then you go through another door to get into the oval and that’s designed in part to keep humidity out.
“Even if people are walking in and they are damp, it’s raining, you walk into that first level and you’re in there for at least a few minutes as you go through, so the heat will be higher in there.”
Oval general manager Magnus Enfeldt said, like at the curling venue, planners have included an intricate dehumidifier system.
“ When this building was designed, we were aware of the fact that we’re at sea level and we spent a lot of time and effort looking into the dehumidification system,” he said in a recent interview.
“ The main thing for us is to make sure we get the cooling from below and make sure the humidity levels stay low and we’ve done everything possible for that. Now we’ll leave it up to the athletes to show us who is the best on the day.”
Enfeldt said the feedback he’s received from athletes on the ice quality has been excellent.