Consistent snowfall can be hard to come by, even in the mountainous region of South Korea’s PyeongChang, the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics. With all that’s riding on the international sporting event and with so many of the athletes having to compete outside, you can’t blame the International Olympic Committee for recruiting some much-needed help to make sure that everything goes according to plan.
But we have some news that might shake you to your very core, so brace yourself.
Now that you’ve been warned, you should know that the snow you’re watching your favorites ski and snowboard on is all fake. Yes, it’s FAKE!
“We have supplied over 160 fans for the Jeongseon Alpine Centre… making us the largest snowmaking provider for the Olympics again,” SMI Snowmakers — a company based in Midland, Michigan — shared in a Facebook post along with a video of its manmade creation.
To get down to specifics, project manager Ian Honey revealed to USA Today that 98% of the Winter Olympics wonderland is artificial. While this may seem like sad news, being able to control weather conditions is actually a very good thing and ensures the continuation of the Games in the years to come. The Weather Channel reports this is also the sixth time SMI Snowmakers has supplied the Games with its snow — from 1988 to 2018 — which proves the system works.
“As the climate warms and snowfall becomes increasingly scarce in some locales, outdoor winter sports have come under threat,” according to Smithsonian magazine. “In Sochi, the organizers created enough snow to cover 1,000 football fields, covering the voluminous piles with insulated yoga-mat like blankets. Along with tech to create artificial snow and preserve snow from year to year, these types of fixes may become increasingly important for the Olympics in the years ahead.”
It sounds like a pretty fair compromise to keep the Winter Games going. Plus, let’s be real, does it really matter where the snow comes from?