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A satellite image of the mountains that will host Olympic skiing events should display a snowy landscape, right? But the National Alpine Ski Center and Sliding Center, 45 miles northwest of Beijing, China, doesn’t get much snowfall. Instead, the steep slopes are lined with man-made snow.

Water used in snowmaking is pumped from reservoirs, which makes it possible to reuse snowmelt and rainwater.

Landsat 8 imagery acquired in the years before the venue’s opening shows a forested mountain range. In February 2022, Landsat shows the artificially snow-covered ski runs ready for competition.

In summer, the ski runs carved out of the mountainside stand out against a green, forested landscape.

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