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About those cooling towers next to big air events …

About those cooling towers next to big air events …

The most striking venue at the Games sits in the formerly industrial western edge of Beijing. There, the towering ski jump for big air events is juxtaposed by four large, drab concrete cooling towers from an old steelworks that to many viewers looks like something from a nuclear plant.

The Big Air Shougang Park, the only venue for a snow event in downtown Beijing, is part of an urban redevelopment project and is described by Olympics officials as the world’s first permanent venue for big air.

The athletes will compete in big air freestyle skiing and big air snowboarding.

The venue was constructed at the site of a 100-year-old former steelworks of Shougang Group, which had another connection to the Olympic Games: It was shut down before the 2008 Summer Olympics because it was a source of the air pollution that once choked the city.

The industrial site is being turned into a complex of office buildings, cafes, and sports facilities, including the headquarters of Beijing 2022.

The design of Big Air Shougang’s curves incorporated the elements of the “flying apsaras” ribbon in the Dunhuang murals, a well-known world cultural landmark in China.

— Claire Fu contributed research.