GORNO-ALTAISK, Russia, December 2 (R-Sport) - Not content to merely watch the weather forecast, Russia’s Winter Olympic organizers took matters into their own hands Monday, arranging for dozens of shamans to pray for snow in Sochi.
As the record-breaking 65,000-kilometer torch relay entered Russia’s remote Asian region of Altai, where ancient shamanism is still popular, traditional holy men and women greeted the Olympic flame in full traditional dress.
“Altai shamans held a special ceremony to make sure everything’s fine with the snow at the Games in Sochi,” Olympic organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said on Twitter.
A lack of snow forced the cancelation of some test events in February, putting the weather into focus as a possible problems for the February 7-23 Olympics.
Fears of unseasonably warm weather in the Caucasus Mountains have prompted organizers to store nearly half a million cubic meters of snow in huge refrigerated reservoirs ready for deployment on the ski slopes if the clouds fail to deliver.
The Vancouver 2010 Games were afflicted by spring-like conditions and snow had to be trucked into Cypress Mountain ahead of the event.