BOISE -- Special Olympics Idaho has been forced to cancel the 2012 state winter games due to a lack of snow.
This is the first time in Special Olympics Idaho 40-year history they have been forced to cancel the statewide games due to no snow.
"There's a required amount of training time that our athletes must do in order to compete, just as in any other sports organization, and because of the lack of snow we can't do adequate training," said Matt Caropino with Special Olympics Idaho.
Before the March 2, 2012 state games, athletes must have eight weeks of training.
Special Olympic Idaho organizers hope there will be enough snow for the area competitions in the three regions of Idaho, four weeks prior to when the state games would have been held.
"If you have snow right now, the athletes that have snow will be training for four weeks and going to an area competition, but it will stop there, we won't advance to state," said Caropino.
That may be a problem for the 330 athletes who planned to use 2012 to qualify for the 2013 world games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Instead, organizers will use the results from 2011 to qualify athletes.
"No snow means no games. Don't be disappointed you guys," said Jack Hansen, an athlete leader for Special Olympics Idaho.
Hansen learned of the news on Wednesday night, like other athletes, coaches and volunteers.
"Some of them are really disappointed,” Hansen said. “But I'm not going to let them get derailed.”
He said he is remaining optimistic, despite the setback. And as Hansen says, you can always look forward to next year.
"No one likes a quitter,” Hansen said. “Whatever you do, don't get disappointed.”
The cancellation affects the outdoor sports, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and alpine skiing. Floor hockey is in limbo.
Organizers are trying to move that event from the McCall-Cascade area down to the Treasure Valley because that's where the majority of the teams are from.