Beijing’s narrow victory over hated rival Almaty for the Olympics that no one else wanted brought about general euphoria across Chinese media yesterday, but the news was met with a bit of skepticism abroad, where experts worried over small details—like snow or the lack thereof.
According to Beijing’s plan, the mountain events will be split up into two groups with alpine skiing and sliding taking place in Yanqing, about 55 miles from Beijing. Yesterday, Business Insider posted two pictures of Yanqing in the middle of winter taken from the IOC’s bid evaluation that seem to show a troubling lack of white powder anywhere on the slopes.
The IOC’s report states that the average snow depth in Yanqing is 5 centimeters, with a minimum depth of 1 centimeter. Between January 20 and January 23 of this year the snow level seems to have somehow been below the minimum.
Of course, the lack of actual snow was never a deal breaker for the IOC, as they conclude in the bid evaluation: “The Zhangjiakou and Yanqing Zones have minimal annual snowfall and for the Games would rely completely on artificial snow. There would be no opportunity to haul snow from higher elevations for contingency maintenance to the racecourses so a contingency plan would rely on stockpiled man-made snow.”
We aren’t worried. If Beijing can make the sky blue it can certainly figure out how to turn that mountain white.
by Alex Linder
[Images via IOC]