It’ll be a fake winter wonderland in Beijing come Feb. 4 for the 2022 Winter Olympics, accordig to NYPOST.
The international sports games will be blanketed almost entirely in artificial snow due to climate change.
“It can be really rock hard out there and falling can feel like falling on concrete, and so it does make it a little bit more dangerous than if it was natural snow conditions,” explained Chris Grover, the head cross country coach for the US ski team.
Kellison recommended in his report that athletes, scientists as well as the Olympic planning committees research environmental concerns and locations more when choosing future cities to host the Olympics.
The Olympics are set to be held from Friday until Sunday, Feb. 20.
According to a report co-authored by Georgia State University, shorter winter seasons, less snowfall and melting ice caused by the weather phenomenon has resulted in the games using fake snow.
Because the weather varies in different host cities and snow is not always readily available, scientists have figured out a way to create artificial particles to give the illusion of a wintery climate.
But the illusion comes at a cost.
The report indicates that the games will need about 49 million gallons of water, 130 fan-operated snow generators and 300 snow-making guns to create the 1.2 million cubic meters of phony snowflakes.
Georgia State associate professor Tim Kellison, who co-wrote the study, told Futurity, “For everything to work, event organizers need to be able to access a huge supply of water and to power all that equipment. And even still, they need favorable weather conditions to keep the artificial snow in optimal conditions — after all, even fake snow melts.”
“The process of artificial snow-making itself can come at a heavy environmental cost, especially because of all the water that’s used,” he said. “But all of this infrastructure also costs a lot of money, something an Olympic host city might be able to absorb, but less possible at lower levels of these winter sports.”
The impact is being felt by athletes, too, who are worried about the dangers of man-made snow.
Johanna Talihärm, an Estonian Olympic biathlete, recently told NBC News that racing on fake snow is very risky.
“Artificial snow is icier, therefore faster and more dangerous,” she said. “It also hurts more if you fall outside of the course when there is no fluffy snowbank, but a rocky and muddy hard ground,” she said.
According to the outlet, artificial ice has a higher moisture content, which makes the material freeze up quicker. Going downhill is also an issue, as the knockoff flakes make racing down much faster and can induce more harmful accidents.