Big air venue at Beijing Winter Olympics goes viral for unusual location

Big air venue at Beijing Winter Olympics goes viral for unusual location

One of the most viral moments of the 2022 Winter Olympics thus far has involved discussion about cooling towers and a steel mill.

On Monday, photos of a big air park in Beijing went viral on Twitter for looking “dystopian.”

The freeski venue, located in the middle of a closed steel mill with tall cooling towers, looks more like a glitch in a simulation than a location for an Olympic event. To say that the slope stands out would be an understatement. 

“This feels like it was created in a virtual world, in a video game,” American freeskier Nick Goepper told the Associated Press. 

Many on Twitter commented about the venue, even making jokes about how the closed steel mill resembles a nuclear power plant. On NBC’s broadcast, announcers did note that the location was a former steel mill, which closed in 2008. 

Despite the criticism online, most of the athletes, in comments to USA Today and the Associated Press, are impressed by Big Air Shougang, which Olympics officials have said is the world’s first permanent venue for big air. 

“If something like this was sustainable enough to repeat all over the world, I think that would be super-duper cool,” Goepper said. “This just brings the sport closer to the public.”