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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Stella: Denver should consider hosting the 2034 Olympic Games

Michael Stella, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

After the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where artificial snow was used for every event that requires snow, the winter games need to be hosted in a true winter destination that is renowned for their winter sports. Thus, Denver, “Ski Country USA,” should host the 2034 Winter Olympics. 

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Denver was awarded the Winter Olympic Games, to happen in 1976, but a ballot initiative by voters struck it down due to the high price tag associated with hosting the games. The Olympics have faced criticism for these extreme costs, and the games often leave behind infrastructure that does not get used again once the less than three-week event is over. 

The International Olympics Committee has faced problems with trying to get cities to host the Olympics, which Denver could use as leverage to host in the way that they want to. Leveraging infrastructure that already exists — such as Empower Field at Mile High and Coors Field for events like the opening and closing ceremony — would cut down the costs of hosting the games. 

If Denver was to host the Winter Olympics, it could also be used as an opportunity to improve existing infrastructure that would benefit Colorado long after the games are over with, such as improvements to Interstate 70 that would improve traffic flow to the ski resorts in that area.

Olympic village housing could be converted into affordable housing for ski resort employees, as housing is a significant issue for ski resort employees. It is expensive to live at or near ski resorts, especially with the relatively low wages that ski resort employees, such as lift line attendants, are paid.

“Colorado’s plentiful natural snowfall would provide a better atmosphere for ski and snowboard events compared to the considerable amount of fake snow used at the last three winter games. Fake, man-made snow is much harder than natural snow, so when athletes fall on it, they are more likely to get injured.”

Colorado is known for its mountains and producing Olympic athletes. Colorado was tied for the second most athletes from any U.S. state at the 2022 games. Steamboat Springs alone has produced 100 Winter Olympians since 1932 and is known as Ski Town, USA. American, French, German and Italian Olympians came to Colorado in November to train at Copper Mountain, which hosted an Olympic qualifying event this season. 

It was questionable to have the Winter Olympics in a location that gets almost no natural snowfall in the winter. Olympic officials had to use a ridiculous amount of water and energy in order to make the amount of snow necessary for the games. 

The 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, relied on 80% artificial snow, and the 2018 winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, relied on 90% artificial snow in order for the games to happen. Winter Olympics have to take place near metropolitan areas because of the infrastructure and venues needed for events like ice skating.

Denver is located within a couple of hours of the I-70 ski corridor, where seven ski resorts are located. This puts Denver in an ideal location where alpine events can be held in mountains that get natural snowfall while still being able to provide for the events that need the metropolitan setting. 

Colorado’s plentiful natural snowfall would provide a better atmosphere for ski and snowboard events compared to the considerable amount of fake snow used at the last three winter games. Fake, man-made snow is much harder than natural snow, so when athletes fall on it, they are more likely to get injured. Nordic and freestyle skiers prefer the softer snow, especially when landing after jumps. 

It is difficult to watch events like the super-G, wherein there was only snow on the racecourse, or to watch the ski jump with an old steel mill’s cooling towers as the backdrop and feel like it was the Winter Olympics. With the 2026 Winter Olympics heading to Milan and the 2030 Winter Olympics currently being bid on, Denver should seek to host the winter games in 2034.

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Reach Michael Stella at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @Michaelstella_.

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