The Beijing Olympics will be the first to use completely fake snow to coat the mountain for competitions on its slopes, putting the local water supply at risk.
China began preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics weeks ago, blanketing the slopes surrounding Zhangjiakou, according to Bloomberg. The nation hopes the games will put the struggling agricultural city on the map as a favored destination for vacationers. The region is dry, and the artificial snow required could fill as many as 800 Olympic-size swimming pools, straining already scarce resources.
U.S. politicians, sports pundits, and athletes have discouraged full participation in the Beijing Games. Longtime Olympics sportscaster Bob Costas in December criticized the International Olympic Committee for being "in bed with China" after the organization took the regime's side on the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. The same month, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) slammed President Joe Biden for participating in a diplomatic boycott of the games while still sending athletes to the communist nation.
"The president has once again opted for a half measure, when bold leadership was required," Cotton said. "The United States should fully boycott the Genocide Games in Beijing. American businesses should not financially support the Chinese Communist Party and we must not expose Team USA to the dangers of a repugnant authoritarian regime that disappears its own athletes."
Beijing said in August the 2022 Games are part of a larger effort to make sports a $773 billion industry in the nation by 2025. China has budgeted $3.9 billion for the games.
Artificial snow has become more common at the Olympics in recent years. Less than 20 percent of the snow used during the 2014 Sochi Games was real, and less than 10 percent was real at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
The Chinese Communist Party warned athletes last week that political statements of any kind at the Olympic Games will not be tolerated. The Beijing Olympics start next week on Friday, Feb. 4.