Is That Airlifted Snow On Your Olympic Ski Mountain, Or Is Your Enormous Helicopter Just Happy To See Me?

Record-setting warm temperatures in Vancouver have prompted Olympic officials to airlift in snow for the upcoming Winter Games. The enormous helicopter they're using is known as an Erickson S64 Air-Crane. It is ten pounds of excellence in a five-pound bag.

Winter Olympic host city Vancouver saw its warmest January on record this year, one marked by blooming daffodils and a serious (zero inches of accumulation versus an average 6.5) lack of snow. For the past week, the S64 you see here has been working with a host of dump trucks to save British Columbia's Cypress Mountain from an onslaught of heat.


As workhorse helicopters go, the Air-Crane is a badass among badasses. Originally produced by Sikorsky, its manufacturing rights were bought by the Oregon firm Erickson Air-Crane in 1992. Common uses include manly things like battling forest fires and harvesting timber (check out the video here), and the U.S. Army once operated a fleet of S64s under the designation CH-54. The S64 in use over Cypress Mountain carries a giant bucket with a 13,000-pound capacity; in the last seven days, it has dumped an average of 780 tons of snow a day on the Olympic grounds. Most of it has been brought from nearby Mount Strachan.

Also, it's Erickson tradition to nickname these things. No word on what the Cypress 'chopper is dubbed, but according to Wikipedia, they get names like "Delilah" and "Elvis." Which is just about the coolest thing ever.

Photo Credits: Mark Ralston/Kim Stallknech/Adrian Dennis/Getty Images, AFP

[USA Today]

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