Climate change and fake snow could make the Winter Olympics 'dangerous,' study finds

Climate change is threatening the Winter Olympics and the future of snow sports by making conditions much more dangerous for athletes and participants, experts warned in a report published a week ahead of the start of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

The Beijing Games, kicking off on February 4, will be the first Winter Olympics to use virtually 100% artificial snow by deploying more than 100 snow generators and 300 snow-making guns working flat out to cover the ski slopes.

"This is not only energy and water intensive, frequently using chemicals to slow melt, but also delivers a surface that many competitors say is unpredictable and potentially dangerous," said the report, written by researchers from the Sport Ecology Group at Loughborough University in England and the Protect Our Winters environment group.

Lying in naturally arid climates, the two co-host cities, Beijing and Zhangjiakou, could use an estimated 49 million gallons of chemically-treated water frozen through snow machines, according to the research.