Organizers planning for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, Russia wanted to make sure they would have enough snow for the skiing competitions, so they decided to save some from last year. They covered several large piles of snow with special insulated tarps to preserve the snow through the spring and summer.
Many members of the media laughed at the idea, but it has proven to be successful. About 500,000 cubic meters of snow, enough to fill about 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools, remain under the tarps. That will be enough to allow the skiing competitions to take place, even if the snow-making machines or the weather don’t cooperate.
Mikko Martikainen, who is in charge of snow production for the Winter Olympics, came up with the snow-saving process a dozen years ago and is excited that it is being used on such a scale. He also hopes for large amount of snowfall in Sochi, a subtropical region that lies in the Caucasus Mountains, one of the highest ranges in Europe. He said it was even possible that the warm air off the nearby Black Sea, combined with the cold air from the mountains, could create an overabundance of snow.
Sochi is located in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, near the border with Georgia. It is one of only a few places in Russia with a subtropical climate. The city is located about 996 miles from Moscow near the border between Europe and Asia.
The XXII Winter Olympics will be held from February 7-23, 2014.