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Dec 16 2013

Russia Asks Shamans to Bring Olympic Snow

Worried that there won’t be enough snow for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Russian government is apparently asking “shamans” (whatever they are) to do whatever it is that shamans do to affect the weather and make it snow. A bit more intelligently, they also have snow-making machines.

As the Sochi Winter Olympics approach, Russian organizers are pulling out all the stops to generate snow in the drought-plagued mountains. Dozens of shamans have reportedly been asked to pray for powder to insure good conditions come February. But, if the snow gods don’t answer to the shamans, Russia has installed an enormous backup system, including more than 550 snow machines, according to reports from NPR…

“If they do see a cold snap coming in, even if it’s only for a few hours, they can go ahead and start more than 100 machines and get the pumping plant going all within, say, a matter of minutes,” VanderKelen, of SMI Snowmakers, said.

Even if the shamans fail, and the snow machines don’t work, Sochi organizers have been saving snow under insulated blankets from last winter that can used at any time.

It’s a good idea to have a backup plan for the “shamans,” one that uses science instead of superstition.

18 comments

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  1. 1
    richardelguru

    “pray for powder” which will immediately go up their noses?

  2. 2
    Gregory in Seattle

    Wouldn’t it be funny if, after all the brouhaha and ballyhoo, the Winter Games are canceled for lack of snow.

  3. 3
    Larry

    #2

    The power of Teh Gayz!

  4. 4
    montanto

    I assume they mean all of the traditional “medicine men” of the numerous ethnic minorities in Russia. It makes for interesting subtext though that it suggests they aren’t quite as much in the Russian Orthodox pocket as they like to say they are on camera.

  5. 5
    Ben P

    I assume they mean all of the traditional “medicine men” of the numerous ethnic minorities in Russia. It makes for interesting subtext though that it suggests they aren’t quite as much in the Russian Orthodox pocket as they like to say they are on camera.

    When I studied in St. Petersburg in 2006, some friends and I went to a summer solstice festival way out in the woods. (like 3hrs drive from St. Petersburg). There were 5000+ people camping there for a pagan festival.

    Now, to be fair, the pagan festival consisted primarily of drinking a lot of alcohol, building bonfires and eating a lot of food. Then jumping over a fire, and then going swimming in the river at night.

  6. 6
    Kaintukee Bob

    @Larry: Why won’t those flamers end their war on the Winter Olympics?

  7. 7
    Abby Normal

    Somewhat related, this comic strip cracks me up.

  8. 8
    puppygod

    By shamans they meant shamans. The word “shaman” originates from Evenki languages which is (or was) spoken by natives of, among others, Krasnodar Krai – that’s where Sochi is. They are practitioners of, well, shamanism. Exactly what it says on the tin.

    Surprisingly, while they don’t have that much media presence, shamanistic rituals and other practices based on folk demonology and spiritism are quite popular in Russia.

  9. 9
    D. C. Sessions

    Advice from someone who spends a good bit of every winter as a volunteer ski patroller for the White Mountain Apaches: snow machines. If you want to pray or otherwise count on magic, put your efforts into trying for cold weather.

  10. 10
    Loqi

    Asking a shaman for snow is silly. You could get an earthquake or a thunderstorm from a shaman, but for blizzards, you need a mage.

  11. 11
    vmanis1

    Don’t knock the shamans. They work. Case in point: the Sochi shamans got a thread going here, which was the purpose. Shamans == publicity.

  12. 12
    busterggi

    I await the right-wing Putin tooters in the US to denounce the Russkies for promoting paganism.

  13. 13
    cptdoom

    Dozens of shamans have reportedly been asked to pray for powder to insure good conditions come February.

    How exactly does prayer lead to insurance for good conditions – and who exactly is underwriting that insurance? How does insurance work – does it pay out if there are good conditions if there are not? It’s very unclear. Of course, if they were brought into ensure good conditions, the shamans would be just as ineffective, but at least the statement would make sense.

    Personally, as a gay man, I wish nothing more for the Putin Hatelympics than lots of warm sunny weather, so the athletes can enjoy themselves in the warmth.

  14. 14
    bushrat

    Quick, get the White Witch from the Chronicles of Narnia on the phone!

  15. 15
    democommie

    @cptdoom:

    Well, if it’s warm enough maybe each country can sponsor a Krewe and they can have a Mardi Gras float competition.

  16. 16
    democommie

    Ed:

    Are you sure that the header is correct? Could they maybe be wanting Olympia Snowe? I know, she’s FOR “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” being repealed and against Universal Healthcare* but still…

    * A communist item of faith–which, like most items of faith, is virtually useless.

  17. 17
    dingojack

    Putin: A bear firmly putting the ‘twink’ into the ‘twinkle of [his] eye’
    :D Dingo

  18. 18
    reasonbe

    If you want a snow job, ask a shaman. Etc.

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