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- Coaches threw away skis after Wednesday’s practice runs at the Winter Olympics.
- Cold temperatures can cause snow crystals to form sharp edges and ruin the bottom of skis.
- Temperatures during the practice runs in the morning were in the single digits Fahrenheit.
- Six people were recently treated for hypothermia during a concert held at the stadium that will be used for Friday’s opening ceremony.
The skiing events at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have not started yet, but the brutally cold weather is already having an adverse effect on the skiers, some of whom are being forced to throw away their skis after practice runs.
A course worker at the Winter Olympics told Rory Carroll of Reuters that coaches were throwing skis away after practice runs on Wednesday.
“One of the coaches said they are throwing the skis out after today,” said Craig Randell, a start-crew technician who is working his third Olympics, told Reuters. “You can’t do anything about it, but with the cold temperatures, the snow adheres to the ski base and twists it. They are turning their skis to garbage real fast.”
As Randell noted, when competing with the best in the world for the biggest prizes in the sport, “every little millisecond, every little idiosyncrasy counts.”
According to Reuters, the weather was in the single digits Fahrenheit during the morning training runs.
Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher explained that when the weather gets too cold, snow crystals become sharp and destroy the skis.
“Every run is a different pair of skis, but it’s not because of hard conditions but the cold conditions,” Hirscher said. “Snow crystals get really sharp when temperatures go to -20 degrees and the base burns. It’s the same as lighting fire and burning your base because the snow crystals get such sharp edges.”
Six people were treated for hypothermia during a recent concert held in the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. The newly built stadium is a 35,000-seat, open-air venue and will be used for the opening ceremony on Friday.
The cold weather in South Korea is in stark contrast to the Sochi Olympics, where it was so warm that it looked like the Summer Olympics at times.