Beijing Wanted the Winter Olympics. All It Needed Was Snow.

The environmentally unfriendly secret of winter sports is that many competitions take place on artificial snow. China’s water-scarce capital had to go to enormous lengths to make enough of it.

Matthew Futterman
Raymond Zhong

By Matthew Futterman and Raymond ZhongPublished Feb. 5, 2022Updated Feb. 6, 2022阅读简体中文版閱讀繁體中文版Leer en español

“BEIJING — China did not move mountains to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. But it flooded a dried riverbed, diverted water from a key reservoir that supplies Beijing and resettled hundreds of farmers and their families, all to feed one of the most extensive snow-making operations in the history of the Games.

This is what happens when the International Olympic Committee decides to bring the Winter Games to a place almost completely lacking in one of the main ingredients for winter sports: snow. What’s more, Beijing and its nearby mountains did not have that much water to make the artificial kind, either.”