Environment & Science
12:15 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Michigan company is making snow for the Olympics

SMI Snowmakers of Midland is involved in the snowmaking and the snowmaking design in Sochi, Russia. SMI is working with Skado (a local Russian company) to design and carry out the process.

According to SMI's website, there are several challenges the company is facing at the Rosa Khutor Resort near Sochi:

The snowmaking design and owner objectives were extremely challenging due to the big vertical, marginal temperatures, wide slopes, environmental aspects, energy and logistics. 

The President of SMI, Joe VanderKelen, was interviewed in this video from National Geographic.  

VanderKelen said that the resort didn't have a snowmaking design in place. 

SMI was also involved with previous Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Calgary, Salt Lake City, Nagano, Japan, and Vancouver.

There's a lot of hype about snow in Sochi. According to ABC News, last year, there wasn't enough snow. ABC reported in November that Sochi was saving snow from last winter under reflective tarps

Here's a map of where the resort town is located. 

Sochi is a resort town in Russia. Last winter there were dirt patches on the slopes, which is why a lot of people were concerned about snow for the Olympic Games.
Credit Screenshot from Google Maps

Here's what Rosa Khutor looked like earlier this month. Dmitry Chernyshenko is the Organizing Committee President of the 2014 Games and  tweeted these pictures.

Isn't it beautiful?

Despite the detailed technical specifications that the Midland-based company shared, Russia is making sure it has all its bases covered.

Chernyshenko (the Organizing Committee president) tweeted this in December:

Yeah, Chernyshenko hired Altei shamans to perform a ritual.

According to a story on Gizmodo, the shamans are "Siberian spiritual guides who'll be conducting a special ceremony to ensure that the typically sunny resort somehow brings snow in time for the games."

– Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom