Sports | February 3, 2018 5:00 am

The Painstaking Work of Winter Olympics Ice Masters

Getting Pyeongchang's ice and snow ready is no small feat.

A view of an ice rink at the Gangneung Hockey Centre that is to host the men's ice hockey tournament during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Stanislav Varivoda/TASS (Photo by Stanislav VarivodaTASS via Getty Images)
A view of an ice rink at the Gangneung Hockey Centre that is to host the men's ice hockey tournament during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Stanislav Varivoda/TASS (Photo by Stanislav VarivodaTASS via Getty Images)
Stanislav Varivoda/TASS

When Olympians descend on Pyeongchang this month, they’ll be aided by the meticulous work of Ice Masters, the technicians in charge of keeping the ice and snow immaculate. A new article on Smithsonian takes us inside the intricate world of Winter Olympic preparation. Getting the ice ready takes months of research and planning, as ultrapure water must be poured on a rink more than a year in advance of the Olympics to prepare the ice. For a sport like bobsledding, the manual labor in the immediate lead up to the Olympics takes five very full days. As for snow, the freshly-fallen stuff is actually not ideal for snow sports, and there remains an ongoing debate about whether artificial or real snow is best