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    HomeTechWhat's it like to throw a Winter Olympics with no snow?

    What’s it like to throw a Winter Olympics with no snow?



    Beijing Winter Olympics artificial snow

    A snowmaking machine works on the Nationwide Cross-Nation Snowboarding Heart in Zhangjiakou, China, earlier than the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

    Wu Diansen/Getty Pictures

    Organizers of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which formally start at this time, have been utilizing dozens of snow mills and tons of of snowblowers to create 1.2 million cubic meters of powder (or about 42.4 million cubic toes).

    The Video games in Beijing will mark the primary time athletes will compete virtually completely on synthetic snow, in accordance to a report from London’s Loughbough University.

    That’ll possible grow to be the norm as local weather change continues, based on the report’s findings, “beginning with lower-altitude slopes and elevating stress and prices on higher-[altitude] resorts.” 

    However producing pretend snow has a excessive environmental price, the authors say. “Even when powered by renewables, an enormous quantity of vitality is required which is each pricey and is usually a vital drain on water assets.”

    And winter athletes say the synthetic turf is much less protected.

    “Synthetic snow is icier, subsequently quicker and extra harmful,” Estonian biathlete Johanna Taliharm told the Related Press in January. “It additionally hurts extra if you happen to fall exterior of the course when there isn’t any fluffy snowbank, however a rocky and muddy arduous floor.”

    Crew USA cross-country coach Chris Grover stated touchdown in it “can really feel like falling on concrete.” 

    Machines make snow at the Genting Snow Park where the freestyle skiing and snowboarding will be held during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

    Machines make snow on the Genting Snow Park, the place the freestyle snowboarding and snowboarding occasions shall be held in the course of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

    Wu Diansen/Getty Pictures

    Not everyone seems to be essential of the pretend stuff. Australian snowboarder Matt Cox, who’s making his Olympic debut at Beijing, told Reuters that “with the chilly temps right here, it is dreamy snow.”

    Synthetic snow is extra of a tightly packed frozen slush, comprised of water droplets which are broken up by a high-pressure pump after which crystalize into frozen flakes.

    Learn extra: 
    How to watch the Beijing Winter Olympics: Everything to know

    The Worldwide Olympic Committee maintains that synthetic snow is used repeatedly at Worldwide Ski Federation competitions “and doesn’t make the programs extra harmful.”

    “On the contrary, it creates a extra constant floor from the highest to backside — or begin to end — of a course,” an IOC spokesperson advised CNET. “The iciness and density of the floor relies on the wants of the given competitors and the preparation of the course, not on the supply of the snow.”

    Most ski and snowboarding occasions on the Beijing Video games will happen in Zhangjiakou, about 110 miles northwest of Beijing, together with freestyle, cross-country, ski leaping and biathlon. Skating and several other further snow occasions are being held on the Capital Indoor Stadium in central Beijing.

    Bobsled, luge and Alpine snowboarding occasions shall be held in Yanqing, a mountainous space about 45 miles from downtown Beijing that is wealthy in water assets, based on the IOC. Water provides for the Olympic venues there’ll come from the close by Foyukou Reservoir.

    Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

    The opening ceremonies for the 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held in Beijing on Feb. 4.


    The IOC says that the electrical energy used to make the snow is from renewable wind and photo voltaic vitality sources. As well as, water-conservation efforts have been instituted, together with snow farming — preserving and relocating earlier accumulation — and harvesting melted snow in retaining lakes on the finish of the season.

    In accordance with the committee, water utilization associated to snow sports activities for the Video games will not affect close by residents’ consumption or agriculture wants.

    “The areas the place the snow-sport occasions shall be held are continuously very chilly,” the IOC consultant stated. “This enables a really environment friendly snow manufacturing and doesn’t require the fixed copy of snow, like in lots of ski resorts elsewhere on this planet the place the temperature fluctuations result in an everyday melting of the snow throughout a season.”

    The best circumstances for making synthetic snow are a “wet-bulb temperature” of about 20 levels Fahrenheit, representing a mixture of the particular temperature and the quantity of moisture within the air. However the 2026 Winter Video games are slated to be held in Milan, the place temperatures rarely dip that low.

    The opening ceremonies for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing start on Feb. 4, with the video games closing on Feb. 20.


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