Inside The Shocking Reality Of A Winter Olympics Using Fake Snow During A Climate Crisis

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Inside The Shocking Reality Of A Winter Olympics Using Fake Snow During A Climate Crisis

When picking a city to host the Winter Olympics, you might assume that it's a given you'd choose somewhere with enough snow to provide a platform for more than 100 events that require cold temperatures.

However, the shocking reality of the Winter Olympics currently being held in Beijing is that conditions are so unsuitable for snow, there's not a flake of the real thing to be found.

All of the snow you see at this Winter Olympics is fake, with the area athletes are competing in seeing on average only an inch of snow each February.


Meanwhile, creating enough artificial snow to host a Winter Olympics leaves behind a significant environmental footprint in terms of the huge amounts of water and power needed to make and maintain an entire Olympic resort's worth of fake snow.

According to Time, the absolute lack of natural snow is a new occurrence for the Winter Olympics, but it's not the first time artificial snow has made up most of what we see at the games.

As much as 98% of the snow used at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea was artificial and around 80% of the snow at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia was fake.


Using artificial snow may be necessary to ensure each event has enough snow to proceed, but it is a cause for concern that the Olympic Committee picked a host city that has 'little to no natural snowfall in the winter', given the environmental cost of creating artificial snow.

Critics of the decision to hand Beijing the 2022 Winter Olympics point out that the games are being held in a place where it barely snows and there's not a lot of water — hardly a suitable pick for a host city.

The problems with hosting the Winter Olympics are also making for worrying signs on climate change.


NBC reports that unless action is taken to halt man-made climate change then by the end of the current century there won't be many places with a suitable climate to host the Winter Olympics.

Research from the University of Waterloo, Canada, warns that on our current climate course, only one of the 21 cities that has hosted the Winter Olympics in the past — Sapporo, Japan — would be able to host the games by 2080.

The picture painted by the research if we actually manage to do something about climate change, was far more rosy, so if we can tackle climate change properly, things would look far better.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]  

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Climate Change, Olympics, Environment

Joe Harker
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