Greenland games forced to bring in snow as temperatures rise

Tue Mar 1, 2016 5:48am EST
 
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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Organizers of this year's Arctic Winter Games have had to bring in truck-loads of snow to make sure competitors have something to ski on, as temperatures rise in host country Greenland.

Poor snow falls had threatened some of the key events at the biennial event that draws athletes from Canada, the United States, Russia, Greenland, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

But volunteers have rallied round to scoop up flurries from surrounding hills and bring them to the main venues before the March 6 start date, games' General Manager, Maliina Abelsen, told Reuters.

"The weather has been acting very strangely, but we are used to that in Greenland, so we have learned to adapt," she said.

The Danish Meteorological Institute has forecast more snow for the weekend, but that could bring more problems.

"We are not happy about that. We have 1,200 people flying into (the capital) Nuuk over the course of the weekend, and snow usually means delays in the air traffic," Abelsen said.

January and February saw temperatures five to six degrees above the average on the world's biggest island. A blistering 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded in Nuuk on Jan. 20.

"These months have been warmer than normal, especially in Southwest Greenland, where there has been many days with degrees above zero," said Mogens Ronnebek, Greenland weather forecaster with the Danish Meteorological Institute.

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Andrew Heavens)