Finnish Experts Guarantee Snow in Sochi

“There will be snow in Sochi, we guarantee it,” said Mikko Martikainen, managing director of Snow Secure confidently.

The Finnish company Snow Secure made sure there was plenty of snow at the Sochi Winter Olympics, no matter the conditions. Two other Finnish companies, Onninen and All-Weather SnowTek, were also prepped for the snowy task.

Snow Secure specializes in solving snow-related challenges and was in charge of the snow contingency master plan for the Sochi Winter Olympics. The company has been providing the Olympics organizers with expert snow services for the past three years. In this role Mikko Martikainen, has visited the mountains of Sochi dozens of times.

“It is always winter in Sochi, and its mountains offer ideal conditions for ski resorts. However, when it comes to the Olympics, they wanted to leave nothing to chance. Storing snow to ensure a sufficient supply of it is like having insurance,” Mr. Martikainen pointed out.

In addition to normal conditions, the snow contingency plan addresses extreme weather conditions, such as the warmest winter in 150 years. Should the winter be warm, problems with snow may arise at altitudes less than 1,400 m, which was where many of the Olympic sports venues were located.

The amount of snow required for the Sochi Olympics exceeds 1 million m3. The amount of snow stored during the previous winter totalled some 450,000 m3 at the end of November, and thanks to the cold December weather, the ordinary snow-making systems could be used to create some more.

All snow-making equipment in modern ski resorts turn water into snow with the help of sub-zero outdoor temperatures. The condition of ski slopes can also be secured by storing snow over the summer or by making snow with equipment capable of functioning in above-zero temperatures.

Twelve years ago, Mikko Martikainen developed a snow storing concept, which is now in use throughout Europe for winter sports.

Storing snow is an ecological and economic way of ensuring sufficient snow. It creates savings and additional revenues for the client. Snow is money.

The Sochi Olympics’ ski jumping center also resorts to snow experts when it comes to ensuring snow supply.

The Finnish company Onninen won a tender for the production of snow for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014. The tender was organized by SC Olympstroy, a company owned by the Russian government. The value of the snow making equipment is about $6 million.

The requirements for the functioning of snow making appliance are high. The equipment should be able to produce snow even at +10°C outside temperature and during rain.

The SnowGen all-weather mobile artificial snow machines made by Onninen’s partner All-Weather SnowTek Oy feature advanced technology, comprising three individual units, which includes a trailer and a snow separator. Refrigeration is unique and no harmful chemicals are used in the snowmaking process. The system has a unit capacity of approximately 200 m3/24 h, or in this case a total of 600 m3/24 h. Smaller units are also available.
In the hardware development work Canadian company IceGen Inc., manufacturer of ice slurry generators, was also involved.

The companies owning the venues are responsible for the detailed planning of the Olympics, and purchasing and operation of the snow-making systems. They are supported by several Russian and foreign snow expert companies and personnel.

Source: Snow Secure, Onninen Oy

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