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The Winter Games Of The Future

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I'm not sure whether this topic was discussed here before, but due to recent events I'd like to bring it up (again).

Europe is currently experiencing an unusually warm December with a corresponding lack of snow even in the Alpine and Northern European ski resorts. Because of that, the alpine skiing World Cup races in Sölden, Val d'Isere and St. Moritz had to be cancelled partially or even completely. Also the ski jumping is affected: The event in Trondheim had to be shifted to Lillehammer, Harrachov had to cancel its event completely, Engelberg's event has been boiled down from three to two competitions. And these are only examples from two winter sports, since also biathlon, cross-country skiing and snowboard are affected.

Meanwhile, the climate scientists are steadily predicting that such warm winters will become normality within the next decades -- due to the climate change.

That's why I want to ask: Is the future of the Olympic Winter Games in danger? How will the Winter Olympics look like if it's becoming harder and harder to find host cities with sufficient snow? Is artificial snow really an alternative? Or will it become so warm in the future that even artificial snow will dew at outdoor events? Will we see the Winter Olympics reduced to indoor events or even completely abolished?

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In the long term (several decades) winter olympics may be threathened, perhaps, but not in the short term. There will always be variations from year to year, and years with El-Niño (like this one) usually leads to mild European winters. Note that North America have had quite cold weather lately. What is worrisome, is of course the long-term trend of warmer winters, and the predictions clearly indicate a few degrees warmer climate in the decades ahead. At least when talking about central/northern Scandinavia, however, it could warm up some degrees without having to worry about lack of snow mid-winter, at least when talking about olympics where it certainly will be a back-up of artificial snow and transported snow from areas with higher elevation. Remember that November/early December is more fall than winter in Norway due to the closeness to the sea. The best winter-months are January-March, when the sea-water has cooled down. Less snow will however probably mean that the interest for wintersport in general will decline.

PS: I heard that Trondheim actually had 3 weeks of good skiing in late October/early November, but that did not last during the (almost) record warm November.

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I'm not sure whether this topic was discussed here before, but due to recent events I'd like to bring it up (again).

Europe is currently experiencing an unusually warm December with a corresponding lack of snow even in the Alpine and Northern European ski resorts. Because of that, the alpine skiing World Cup races in Sölden, Val d'Isere and St. Moritz had to be cancelled partially or even completely. Also the ski jumping is affected: The event in Trondheim had to be shifted to Lillehammer, Harrachov had to cancel its event completely, Engelberg's event has been boiled down from three to two competitions. And these are only examples from two winter sports, since also biathlon, cross-country skiing and snowboard are affected.

Meanwhile, the climate scientists are steadily predicting that such warm winters will become normality within the next decades -- due to the climate change.

That's why I want to ask: Is the future of the Olympic Winter Games in danger? How will the Winter Olympics look like if it's becoming harder and harder to find host cities with sufficient snow? Is artificial snow really an alternative? Or will it become so warm in the future that even artificial snow will dew at outdoor events? Will we see the Winter Olympics reduced to indoor events or even completely abolished?

So long as the WOG's bring BIG buckaroos for the IOCs, its sponsors and winter gear-apparel companies, the WOGs will be around. As for climatological factors, there will always be areas around the world where even snow from snow-making machines can be made (I'm thinking the Tahoe/Sierras areas in Calif-Nevada), so there is no danger that the WOGs will become extinct.

Well, there's always Dubai you know.

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Spain is also suffering the lack of snow, and almost all the ski ressorts have been closed during the 'Constitucion Holidays'.

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Yes, climate change in this angle has been prevalent lately in the TV news at my location. In fact, it is not only the Winter Olympics that seems to be threatened by the ever-changing weather patterns. I just watched an environmental program that accuses Beijing and London, when preparing for their respective SUMMER OLYMPICS, of breaking the promises of their overall IOC host city contracts. Yes, both cities have been making progress in some way, but the show explains the problems that are significant and could pose problems, when they get to host their Olympic Games. This should be a warning to all cities that want to be Olympic ones in the future.

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It'll get warmer, but then it'll get colder again.....real cold......as in an ice age.

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This is lovely, in a sarcastic way. Now, the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) is now gotten involved in this issue:

Link: BBC: OECD Warns On Alpine Ski Future

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Time for the Winter Games to find a permanent home in the US Rockies or the Sierra NEvada.

Nope, Queen Maud land (Antartica) is safer :)

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Yeah...if you like moose or caribou.

Yes, of course I like them, but in Antartica there are only penguins. I would be considered a pest in Queen Maud land, just ask Roltel or one of the Kiwi posters what they think about deers in their countries....

Seriously, I think (and you probably agree) that placing the olympics permanently in one place would be a slow death for the WOGs, it needs to move around to keep the interest for the games up in all winter sports corners of the world. However, in 30-50 years time WOGs and skiing in general, will perhaps be pushed to higher altitudes and/or latitudes, making skiing an exclusive activity for even less people of the world. I don't think places like Svalbard/Spitsbergen, Greenland (both have caribous but no moose!) or the international continent of the world, Antartica, will be needed in a while, though, although they are very beautiful places..

NGM-2_98p52-3.jpg

Queen Maud Land

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Seriously, I think (and you probably agree) that placing the olympics permanently in one place would be a slow death for the WOGs, it needs to move around to keep the interest for the games up in all winter sports corners of the world. However, in 30-50 years time WOGs and skiing in general, will perhaps be pushed to higher altitudes and/or latitudes, making skiing an exclusive activity for even less people of the world.

That's what I'm saying. With more and more viable places having less and less snow; therefore maybe it's time to have the WOGs in 1 or 2 permanent homes. And it's not like the Summer Games which can still rotate, and which the Greeks can try to claim as their own. So I think for the North American continent, there's Lake Tahoe, Salt Lake City or the Denver areas for a permanent WOG home. And for Europe or Asia,.....uh?......uh?

I just can't think of any decent places in Europe or Asia.

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That's what I'm saying. With more and more viable places having less and less snow; therefore maybe it's time to have the WOGs in 1 or 2 permanent homes. And it's not like the Summer Games which can still rotate, and which the Greeks can try to claim as their own. So I think for the North American continent, there's Lake Tahoe, Salt Lake City or the Denver areas for a permanent WOG home. And for Europe or Asia,.....uh?......uh?

I just can't think of any decent places in Europe or Asia.

Keep on dreaming....

In foreseeable future there are plenty of places that can stage WOGs. Both Asia and South America have higher mountains than North America (check http://www.scaruffi.com/travel/tallest.html ), and it will be a long long time before modwinter lack of snow in the alps at higher altitudes and northern Scandinavia could become an issue, at which time snow sport probably would be considered an extreme sport not fit for the olympics and places like Bangladesh would be deep under water. As I said, fixation of the WOG in North America or anywhere else would do that the WOGs loose interest and that they become irrelevant compared with world cups and world championships. Remember that US has a small share of the world's winter athletes.

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Remember that US has a small share of the world's winter athletes.

Uh-huh. Not really. Did you see the # of skiers who have been dominating the World Cups? And the winners of the ISU's Junior Grand Prix in Sofia? 9 of 12 medals went to the under-18 US skaters. Of the 8 pairs that competed, rankings 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 went to US teams. ANd you say the US has a 'small' share of the world's winter athletes. Uhmmm, I would retract that statement if I were you; it is disingenous.

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Uh-huh. Not really. Did you see the # of skiers who have been dominating the World Cups? And the winners of the ISU's Junior Grand Prix in Sofia? 9 of 12 medals went to the under-18 US skaters. Of the 8 pairs that competed, rankings 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 went to US teams. ANd you say the US has a 'small' share of the world's winter athletes. Uhmmm, I would retract that statement if I were you; it is disingenous.

Yes, Bode Miller and Kildow are excellent skiers. However, world cups results go up and down, a couple of weeks ago 5 out of the 8 FIS/biathlon world cups were lead by Norwegians, most of the leaders coming from the Trondheim area. Olympic medal history is probably a better measure, where US have won roughly 10 % of the medals both in Torino and for all the WOGs combined. I don't think that is terribly impressive for such a big country, where a large share of the population actually live in areas with snowy winters. My feeling is that most Americans only really care about winter sports during WOGs. If that is about to change, great!

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This is a great threat for the european bids for the games, Torino had a lot of trouble because of the lack of snow, within last days before the beggining of the games. Even that fortunely the snow returned at the last moment before the opening, they had to use a lot of artificial snow to counterstrike the problem.

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I hear Denver International Airport will put in a WOG bid!!

i agree i think they would do a fantastic job, but the only worry will be transport?

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The Norwegian former ski stars Vegard Ulvang and Gudmund Skjeldal is now organizing a campaign against global warming, called "Hvit vinter" (White Winter, www.hvitvinter.no). Actually, this exceptionally mild winter in Europe/Eastern US (probably caused by warming of the Atlantic due to El Nino) may do some good: Giving the fight for cleaner energy sources more credibility.

BTW: The development of the temperature of a range of different places of the world can be seen in www.rimfrost.no (also in English and other languages)

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Looks like there could be more negative knock-off effects from the lack of snow at European ski resorts in the future:

Link: BBC: High Ski Runs Fuel Habitat Fears

Guard, do you report EVERY development that is even remotely related to anything about sports? I mean -- are you an internet monitor of some sort?

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Guard, do you report EVERY development that is even remotely related to anything about sports? I mean -- are you an internet monitor of some sort?

As everyone knows, the location of the US Democratic convention is far more relevant for olympics than the future of winter sports....

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As everyone knows, the location of the US Democratic convention is far more relevant for olympics than the future of winter sports....

It's in the same realm. After the Olympics, World Expos, the World Cup, regional Games and World Championships, major conventions are EQUALLY as relevant. What do you think was Atlanta's ace up their sleeve? Having hosted the 1988 Democratic Convention. And on that feat, they built their bid WHICH WON!! Doncha think Denver is going to use this event to try to rebuild its image in pursuit of another WOGs? Duh!!

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