Sochi 2014 officials turn to their stockpile of snow as temperatures at mountain venues creep higher


Japan’s Akito Watabe takes a jump during Nordic combined training at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center. Nordic combined athletes and ski jumpers are among athletes who have complained about snow conditions. (AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL)

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia—Almost without exception, the goal of shoveling snow is to remove it. Krasnaya Polyana, the Russian ski resort overlooking Sochi, was that rare exception Tuesday.

As the mild temperatures that started the week at the 2014 Winter Games crept even higher, Sochi’s Olympic organizers confirmed Tuesday that work had begun shoveling some of the snow that has been stockpiled in storage onto the race venues in the mountains.

“I cannot tell you how much,” said Aleksandra Kosterina, head of communications for Sochi 2014, during a media briefing. “I just don’t know. I mean, I don’t know the specifics, but I know that we did.”

At noon, temperatures at some of the mountain venues were at 43 degrees. It was projected to hit 45 degrees at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center, where women’s ski jumping will make its Olympic debut Tuesday night.

Sochi isn’t among the first Olympic hosts to manufacture or re-purpose natural snow when Mother Nature doesn’t do her part, as The Post’s Dave Sheinin reported Monday. Organizers of the 2010 Vancouver Games airlifted snow to portions of the ski areas when its blanket grew too thin.

Sochi’s snow-contingency plans include collecting 710,000 cubic meters of snow over the past two years and stowing it in insulated silos. In addition, officials have hundreds of “snow guns” capable of manufacturing snow and blasting it where needed.

 

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post, she has also covered five Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.
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