Temperatures low enough to start Otepää artificial snow production

Artificial snow machine at the Tehvandi center on Tuesday morning.
Artificial snow machine at the Tehvandi center on Tuesday morning. Source: ELSF

The Tehvandi Sport Center just outside the South Estonian town of Otepää has started producing artificial snow ahead of hosting a round of the Biathlon European Championships in late February.

The center was able to start production after air temperatures dropped below zero on Monday night, following a mild winter so far, which has jeopardized the competition, and other skiing events.

"Artificial snow production is on full capacity to make the most of the next few days' below-zero temperatures," said Aivar Nigol, chair of the organizing committee, via a press release.

The center has all of its snow cannons in operation, as well as additional rented ones, and it has ordered a special container for snow production from Poland, which also allows the production of artificial snow at temperatures above zero, according to ERR's sports portal.

"The plan is to produce artificial snow with Tehvandi's own, as well as rented, snow cannons, and temperatures above zero, to allow snow production using a container ordered from Poland," Nigol said. The Polish equipment is capable of producing a reported 100-meters of snow per day.

The weather over the next four days is forecast to be suitable for artificial snow production (some actual snow has been forecast in the region this week as well), allowing the organizers to prepare at least the minimum trail needed for the event.

"We will continue our preparations and do everything we can to ensure that the competition can take place," Nigol said.

This is the third time Estonia has hosted a round of the championships, which include individual distance, doubles, mixed, sprint and track stages. Spectators up to the age of 19 can watch for free, according to ERR's sports portal, with the event coinciding with schools' half-term vacations.

Last month, a stage of the Estoloppet cross country skiing series in Lääne-Viru County was postponed to March, and  the 47th annual Tartu ski marathon scheduled for February 9 and finishing in Tehvand, was canceled at the end of January.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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