“We think it’s unlikely that there will be 2 mild winters in a row. Even if this winter is without snow and mild, we’ll still have 450,000 cubic meters, which, of course, is enough.” – Mikail Tiguskin, snow saving operations manager
The Russians have begun stockpiling snow for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. They’ve already stored 450,000 cubic meters of snow as of April 15th, 2013. They put the stored snow underneath specially designed 40-centimeter thick layers of sawdust to keep it from melting.
The cost of storage of this snow through spring, summer, and autumn will be $11 million. It’s estimated that about 140,000 cubic meters of the stored snow will melt over the summer leaving them with about 300,000 cubic meters of snow come February 2014.
2 Olympic training events were canceled this past winter due to a lack of snow. Which sounds pretty bad, except for the fact that 74 of the test events were pulled off successfully. Of course, many of the events are indoors and unaffected by snow conditions. Apparently, it was a very bad winter this year in Sochi, Russia.
“This was a very odd winter. Even locals don’t remember when was the last time they had such warm days in the mountains. It’s highly unlikely we’ll see the same kind of weather next year.” - Sergei Bachin, general director of Roza Khutor, a ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana that will host Alpine skiing, snowboarding and freestyle Olympic competition
One of the big fears has to do with low elevation. The top of the men’s downhill course is at only 6,560 feet and the bottom is at only 3,084 feet. Low elevation leads to rapid melting of snow and can easily become engrossed in rain showers during warmer storms.
Sochi is certainly a place with unpredictable weather and frequent rain events. We know that pro skiers JT Holmes and Timy Dutton went to Sochi in 2009 for a Freeride World Tour event, spent 2 weeks there in the rain, and left after the event was canceled. We also have a friend who went to Sochi to train for his 2014 race course assistant position this past March. He spent two weeks there, it rained everyday, and the event was canceled.
The real question is this: Why does the IOC keep choosing venues where it rains?
We’ve truly got our fingers crossed for a big winter in Sochi, Russia in 2014. This will be first year for skiing halfpipe and slopestyle and we want to see them shine.