We love the Olympics – any opportunity to get together to toast the world’s top athletes. But what we aren’t celebrating is the fact that this is the first Winter Olympics to rely 100% on artificial snow. The IOC estimates that 49 million gallons of water will be needed to produce snow for the Games. That is a day’s worth of drinking water for 100 million people.
Artificial snow has been used in varying degrees during Winter Olympics dating back to the Lake Placid Games in 1980. But the selection of a site which must rely soley on man made snow raises the question of how sustainable the Olympics really are. Moreover, the trend toward fake snow is likely to intensify at future Winter Olympics as global temperatures rise. Of the 21 past venues, a study by the University of Waterloo found that only 12 will be cold enough to host with real snow in the 2050s, even if the world meets its Paris climate targets.
We can only hope that the IOC will consider Climate Change in selecting the future sites for the Winter Games.