Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Logistics of the Winter Olympics

Here at PEER, we’re looking forward to the coming excitement that is the winter Olympics!  Luge, skiing and snowboarding ice hockey – it’s always fun to watch the best in the world compete for the gold, and cheer our countrymen and women on.  We also have a particular sensitivity to the complex maze of operations that allow the games to happen, from a more logistical point of view.

Preparing the courses for skiers and snowboarders requires huge capacity for snow creation and movement – machines that depend on bearings to allow their blades to turn.  “Snowcats” are truck-sized trail-groomers that depend on treads to navigate the snowy slopes, and groom them for the athletes.  Preparing the ice rinks for skaters and hockey players means a smooth, level ice surface that only a commercial grade ice re-surfacer (popular referred to by the brand-name “Zamboni”) can provide.  These hulking machines also rely on precise function of an auger to scrape and remove the snow from the surface of the ice.

The athletes are not the only ones who benefit from such technology – off-highway transportation is a large part of the logistical challenge of not only the Olympics, but many outdoor winter events.  Snowmobiles and bus-like snowcats serve to cart people from place to place where vehicles with tires dare not tread.  Anything with axels and treads also relies on bearings to allow them to safely and efficiently transport people to remote places isolated from other forms of transport by snow.

It’s safe to say we’ll be watching and cheering for our winter athletes this year in Sochi.  We’re glad for both the skill of the athletes to amaze and entertain us, and the technology that prepares the courses and gets them where they need to go.

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