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Cllimate change and manmade snow is putting athletes in danger

In a recent event, a British skier crashes through wooden fencing, slamming into a pole and breaking his leg. Another skier from America hits an icy patch at the bottom of a hill and crashes and also breaks his leg. 

One more American, training before a biathlon race, slides out on an icy corner breaking his ribs, shoulder blade and puncturing a lung. 

 All these events were not from high-speed Alpine or ski cross events. These all happened on cross country skis made with artificial snow. 

Due to climate change, the availability of natural snow has been reduced. It forces races to go for the alternative way, that is to racers have to compete on tracks with the manmade version. These tracks are made out of artificial snow. 

Johanna Taliharm, an Estonian Olympic biathlete, said that

“Artificial snow is icier, therefore faster and more dangerous,”. “It also hurts more if you fall outside of the course when there is no fluffy snowbank, but a rocky and muddy hard ground.”

It is much difficult to compete on man-made snow as it is icier and has high moisture content. 

British skier Andrew Young has also broken his leg by crashing on the fourth lap of a 15-kilometre mass start cross country ski race in Sweden. He said that it is no secret that climate change has affected cross country skiing, but it is not the only cause of the sport’s increased dangers.

Racecourses are shorter partly due to limited snowfall, as well as to allow spectators and television cameras to see the skiers more often. As Young put it: “Shorter loops mean more corners, which means more crashes.”


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