Climate change could threaten future of Winter Olympics, report warns

It’s the ultimate sporting event for skiers, snowboarders and ice skaters around the world, but a new study has warned that the Winter Olympics could be a thing of the past, thanks to climate change.

Experts have warned that the number of suitable sites could decline due to rising global temperatures.

Their warnings come days before the start of the Winter Olympics in China, which will be the first to rely on nearly 100% artificial snow.

The report, led by experts from Loughborough University, said: “The risk is clear – human-caused warming threatens the long-term future of winter sports.”

“It also reduces the number of climate-suitable host sites for the Winter Olympiad.”

Experts have warned that the number of suitable sites could decline due to rising global temperatures. Their warnings come days before the start of the Winter Olympics in China, which will be the first to rely on nearly 100% artificial snow.

What’s wrong with artificial snow?

At the Winter Olympics, China will use almost 100% artificial snow, along with chemicals to slow the melt.

Worryingly, this provides a surface that many competitors say is unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

Fake snow is also expected to require a huge volume of water and energy to produce.

China could need up to two million cubic meters of water to create enough fake snow to cover ski slopes and access roads during the Games.

Since the first Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924, 21 sites around the world have been used for the event.

However, the report suggests that by 2050 less than half (10) of these venues will have the “climate compatibility” and natural snowfall levels to host the event.

Former hosting areas now classified as ‘high risk’ include Chamonix, Norway, France and Austria, while Vancouver, Sochi and Squaw Valley have been deemed ‘unreliable’.

The report, titled “Slippery Slopes: How Climate Change is Threating the Winter Olympics,” was produced ahead of the start of the Winter Olympics in China on February 4.

At the event, China will use almost 100% artificial snow, along with chemicals to slow the melt.

Worryingly, this provides a surface that many competitors say is unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

“The 2022 Winter Olympics will undoubtedly be an awe-inspiring spectacle watched and enjoyed by millions around the world,” the report said.

“But they should also provoke a debate about the future of snow sports and the limits of engineering man-made natural environments. Slippery slopes await us.

At the event, China will use almost 100% artificial snow, as well as chemicals to slow the melt

At the event, China will use almost 100% artificial snow, as well as chemicals to slow the melt

It is estimated that artificial snow at the Winter Olympics requires approximately 222 million liters of water to produce

It is estimated that artificial snow at the Winter Olympics requires approximately 222 million liters of water to produce

Laura Donaldson, a British freestyle skier who competed at the Salt Lake Games in 2002, expressed concern about the danger artificial snow could pose to athletes this year.

“If super freestyle pipes are formed from snowmaking machines during a bad season (of natural snow), the walls of the pipe are solid vertical ice and the floor of the pipe is solid ice”, she said.

“It’s dangerous for the athletes – some have died.”

The report suggests that by 2050 less than half (10) of these venues will have the

The report suggests that by 2050 less than half (10) of these venues will have the “climate compatibility” and natural snowfall levels to host the event. Former hosting areas now classified as ‘high risk’ include Chamonix, Norway, France and Austria, while Vancouver, Sochi and Squaw Valley have been deemed ‘unreliable’.

It is estimated that this artificial snow requires approximately 222 million liters of water to produce.

British Freestyle Champion and Winter Olympian Peter Speight said: “It’s useful for creating physical snow that people can use, but it uses large amounts of water and energy and doesn’t help not solve climate change.”

“We need to solve climate change at the source (reduce greenhouse gas emissions), rather than relying on mitigation-focused solutions.”

The report comes shortly after another study by the University of Waterloo looked at the suitability of the 21 previous host cities to host again in the future.

He found that if global temperatures continue to rise on their current trajectory, only one previous host would be suitable by 2050.

In the study published in Current Issues in Tourism, the researchers wrote: “By mid-century, the number of reliable hosts drops to four (Lack Placid, Lillehammer, Oslo and Sapporo) and by the end of the century, only one location remains reliable. (Sapporo).’

Events at the 2022 Winter Olympics

Events will take place in 15 disciplines across seven sports at the Beijing 2022 Games.

109 sets of medals will be awarded, seven more than at PyeongChange 2018.

New events will be contested in bobsleigh, short track, freestyle skiing, ski jumping and snowboarding.

Events:

– Alpine skiing

-Biathlon

– Bobsled

– Cross-country skiing

– curling

– Figure skating

– Freestyle skiing

– Ice Hockey

– Sled

– Nordic combined

– Short Track Speed ​​Skating

– Skeleton

– Ski jumping

– Snowboarding

– Speed ​​skating

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