Photo/IllutrationA demonstration event was held in Tokyo on June 16 at the Sea Forest Waterway, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic venue for rowing and canoe sprint, to celebrate the completion of its construction. (Kazutaka Eguchi)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Snow may be on the menu next summer at the Tokyo Bay venue for 2020 Olympic rowing and canoe events.

A trial of the snow machines spraying artificial snow during a test match will be held at the Sea Forest Waterway in the capital's Koto Ward, the Olympic organizing committee announced Sept. 4.

The winter miracle is being prepared to spare spectators in stands not shaded by a roof from falling prey to heatstroke.

In 2016, Sea Forest Waterway decided to abandon its original plan to cover all the stands with a roof to save money, leaving half the venue's 2,000 seats exposed to the boiling sun.

Test events for canoe sprint are scheduled from Sept. 12 to 15. Snow machines will come into play Sept. 13.

The machines are used at music events and make snow by crushing columns of ice. According to the Olympic committee, they can pump out up to 270 kilograms of snow per cubic meter per minute.

Committee staff will stand in for the audience for the snow-blowing test.

They will check the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT), while artificial snow made from ice columns weighing about 1 ton is blown over the uncovered stands. The WBGT is a heat stress index used to prevent heatstroke.

Snow machines weren't originally part of the committee's plans to combat summer heat, but a member said they would be used if the machines prove effective during the test.