Heavy snow a welcome ‘problem’ for Beijing Games venues

While athletes competed on artificial snow throughout the Beijing Olympics, organizers now face the logistical challenge of clearing the real thing after heavy snowfall in the Zhangjiakou Mountains on Saturday.

Brush and brown brush on the hills around some of the mountain venues made for disappointing TV pictures during the Games, but snowfall blanketed the area in white, while also causing problems for crews at local venues.

“In heavy snow, you don’t have to wait, it’s a clearing process while it’s snowing,” Shu Wen, deputy director of maintenance services at Genting Snow Park, told reporters.

“It’s about preventing the use of snow-melting agents.

“Whether it’s an environmentally friendly snowmelt agent or not, it all has a certain impact on snowy roads and trails. Our aim is to ensure that the whole stadium is clean and tidy.

Genting hosts many freestyle skiing and snowboarding events at the Beijing Games, where a solid, predictable surface is a requirement for the athletes’ jaw-dropping tricks and high-speed races.

Shu said his team was prepared for the heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures predicted for the middle weekend of Olympic competition.

“According to the weather forecast, we expect a blizzard today and tomorrow, and heavy snowfall,” Shu added. “This situation occurs frequently in our snow operations. We have a top professional team to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Early Saturday, teams of professionals and volunteers were clearing the sites ahead of the day’s events.

Opening races at nearby cross-country and biathlon centers were held in temperatures below minus 10 degrees Celsius, and gusty winds made shooting on the biathlon range very difficult.

Temperatures have been climbing over the week but are expected to drop further.

After occasional delays to some of the alpine skiing and ski jumping programs due to high winds earlier in the Games, Shu is confident the organizers can handle whatever the weather throws at them.

“This year we are all set up in our mountain team with extra machinery and manpower to make sure we can handle any strong wind situation we may encounter, that at all times we can ensure the normal course of our events,” he said. .

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