After a slopestyle skiing test event in Sochi, Russia had to be cancelled this week because of lack of snow, concerns are building that high temperatures could wreck havoc on next year’s Winter Olympics.
Sochi is a subtropical resort town that has some of the warmest weather in the country. The mountains outside of town typically have snow, but as we’re seeing this week, it’s not guaranteed.
It’s supposed to be in the low-60s there all week.
But the Olympic organisers have a master back-up plan: they’re hoarding snow one year in advance to use in case a similar warm spells happens next year. Basically, they’re piling up all they snow they can get this winter, covering it in a thermal blanket, and hoping it’s still there next year
“Several hectares of slopes are set aside just for storage. Snow will be piled up for the next two months, then covered with thermal blankets. 60 to 70 per cent of the mounds will stay cold enough throughout the summer months. Next February, the saved snow will be dumped on the slopes.”
They also have a reservoir of 150,000 cubic feet of water to use for artificial snow-making.
So while it seems reckless to hold a winter Olympics in a place that doesn’t really have winter, the Russians are planning way, way in advance.
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