Snow making underway for start of 2022 Olympics

Snow making for Alpine skiing events at the 2022 Winter Olympics started on Monday in Beijing's Yanqing district and is expected to be completed by mid-January, in time for the arrival of the world's top winter athletes.

"The meteorological conditions in Yanqing have met the requirements for making snow," said Liu Lifeng, an official from the construction department of the Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office. "The snow-making equipment was tested five days ago," Liu added.

The snow-making team has 20 people from both China and abroad. They have been divided into two teams, working 24 hours a day in two shifts. The area for the Olympic events will be around 800,000 square meters and covered by 1.2 million cubic meters of snow.

Alpine skiing is one of the most high-profile Winter Olympic sports, and Beijing officials are making great efforts to provide quality infrastructure to ensure it is a standout event of the 2022 Games.

The National Alpine Skiing Center, where 11 gold medals will be up for grabs, is located in Yanqing in northwestern Beijing. It has seven runs with steep slopes, which were difficult to construct. The combined length of the runs is 9.2 kilometers with a vertical drop of 900 meters.

The center is China's first for Alpine skiing that meets Olympic standards. It's also expected to be one of the most challenging in the world for competitors.

Li Xinggang, chief designer of the Yanqing venues, said innovation and technological breakthroughs have helped his team build world-class facilities. "The big vertical drop and high speed for the Games (events) have raised the high requirements for safety," he said during an interview with Xinhua News Agency.

Construction of the center has been done in an environmentally sensitive way to minimize interference with the trees and vegetation, he added.

The Winter Olympic Games village in Yanqing will be transformed into a resort after the Games, Li said.

More than 70 percent of the district is mountainous, and the highest altitude of the competition area is 2,198 meters. Yanqing will host Alpine skiing and the bobsled and luge competitions during the 2022 Games.

Other facilities in Beijing are also taking shape for the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Special dedicated traffic lanes with Olympic signage started being set up on Friday, transportation officials said.

The lanes have not been officially launched and can still be used by vehicles. Twenty Beijing roads are being reconfigured for special use during the Games. The work will be completed by the end of November, with 185 road signs and 73 markers in place, Beijing traffic management authorities said.

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