Russia saves up snow to ensure white Olympics

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A snowboarder at a mountain resort outside Sochi, Russia, which is to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. AFP PHOTO/Mikhail Mordasov

MOSCOW—Russia has started to stockpile hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of snow to ensure the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is not hit by unpredictable weather conditions.

The Sochi 2014 Olympics Organizing Committee has constructed a huge snow storage facility at the Rosa Khutor ski resort, which will host the alpine skiing and snowboarding at next year’s Games.

The organizers are set to conserve a colossal 450,000 cubic meters of snow before April 15 when the thaw sets in to prevent any shortages of powder at the outdoor Olympic venues in case of unfavorable weather conditions next February, the resort said in a statement.

The snow reserves will be covered by a 40-centimeter layer of specially processed sawdust to conserve it and to allow it to survive the upcoming spring, summer and autumn with minimum losses courtesy of a special technology, which was created by one of the 2014 Olympics Finnish partners.

“The snow storages will be situated near the Olympic slopes to deliver and spread the snow there, in case of necessity, with the help of snow ploughs,” the press service of state corporation Olympstroi said.

Roza Khutor is closing the ski pistes while the work goes on to all but those who are staying in hotels at the resort to ensure their security, it said.

The proximity of the Black Sea and the Sochi climate’s natural humidity virtually guarantees heavy snowfalls at the 2014 Olympic venues.

However organizers decided to reserve some extra snow to fit the strict demands of the international wintersports federations and the International Olympic Committee.

The Olympic venues have suffered unpredictable weather this year varying from ideal sunny cold conditions to the muggy weather with zero rainfall that can potentially ruin a winter sports event.

Sochi is a Black Sea resort that enjoys balmy year-round temperatures but Russia is hoping that the location chosen high in the nearby Caucasus mountains will enjoy a good snowfall.

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