Are Winter Sports Dying?


Riley Thompson, Digital Media Editor

Winter sports is a widely popular range of sports including, snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, etc. However, in recent years the question has arisen, what’s winter sports without winter? With global warming arising, winter sports are at risk of being ended soon due to the lack of snow in many countries across the globe. One of the biggest concerns is the Winter Olympics also coming to a close due to the lack of snow. A study done by the University of Waterloo showed that 9 of the 21 sites that previously held the Olympic Winter Games are going to be extremely unreliable to host it by the year 2050. One of these sites, Sochi Russia, had a 100% chance of a 30cm snow depth in 2010. However, it is shown that by the year 2041, there will be less than a 5% chance of that happening. Even if we lowered emissions, it is still unlikely that multiple locations in France, Germany, and Russia would ever be able to hold the Winter Olympics again.

With the lack of snow, innovations have been made such as the use of artificial snow creation. Artificial snow has come to dominate the Winter Games as over 98% of the snow at the PyeongChang 2018 games was made artificially. Unfortunately, artificial snow itself can have consequences to global warming. This is because lots of moisture and energy is required to make it and in some cases chemicals are required. However, a new technology of artificial snow making has been discovered called vacuum freezing. This method can be used in any air temperature and use significantly less energy.

With all of this, the priority should always be protecting the environment and trying to prevent climate change. However, this requires a global movement in order to make a change. The future of winter sports shouldn’t have to rely on alternatives like vacuum freezing or artificial snow creation, the millions of people who take part in them should be able to ski, snowboard, or ice skate as they please.