First Olympics entirely on artificial snow
February 2, 2022 - February 20, 2022 - For the first time at the Winter Olympics athletes will compete entirely on energy and resource-intensive manmade snow, in a region with an average snowfall of just 21cm each year and a year-round scarcity of water.
Beijing 2022 will not be the first Games to use artificial snow - they were introduced at Lake Placid in 1980, and the Olympics have become ever more dependent on it. Climate change is only going to exacerbate that with a recent study showing that of the 20 Winter Olympic venues since 1924, only 10 will have the 'climate suitability' and natural snowfall levels needed to host an event by 2050.
Around 220 million litres of water are expected to be used to generate the snow for the slopes and access roads of the Games, although organisers say this is just 2% of the requirements for the region. They also claim the snow cannons used are 20% more energy efficient than in previous years, and have trumpeted Beijing 2022 as the first Olympics to be run entirely on wind and solar energy.
While modern athletes will have competed at numerous venues on artificial snow, some have expressed concern that it may be slicker and more dangerous than natural powder.