A weekend storm brought orange snow to Europe—here’s what you should know

During my 20-plus years of snowboarding, I’ve experienced some pretty extreme terrain and conditions. I’ve ridden through white-outs, down double-black diamonds, through waist-deep powder and almost gotten stuck in the trees. One thing that always remained the same was the color of the snow. Some days, it was fluffier than others, but it was always pure white.

Even if you’re not out on the slopes regularly, you’ve come to expect white snow, too. Especially after this winter, we all know a snow storm comes with lots of fluffy white flakes. Sometimes a few more than we’d bargained for. But this weekend, a snow storm in eastern Europe threw us all for a loop. What fell from the sky wasn’t pure white; it was orange.

The orange-tinted snow blanketed ski resorts and cities in Russia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and Moldova. Check out this video from Instagram user @nazd1234:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgtc9lRF-bg/?taken-by=nazd1234

The most striking photos came from Rosa Khutor in Sochi. This ski resort hosted freestyle skiing events, alpine ski races and snowboarding competitions in the 2014 Winter Olympics:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgjdGJ3lDMt/?taken-by=rosakhutor

But this weekend, the slopes turned an eerie orange, and photos popped up around social media. The rust-colored landscapes looked like they belonged on Mars, not on Earth. Here’s a snap from @infoclima:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgyeKxODaeD/?taken-at=1440769066041567

These photos weren’t edited with filters. The snow really was that orange. Thankfully, it’s nothing to be concerned about. According to meteorologists, the phenomenon occurs about every five years. This particular snow storm brought sand all the way from the Sahara Desert. As a result, the snow and rain mixed with the sand in the atmosphere and turned orange as it fell to the earth. Look at this great orange expanse snapped by Instagram user @slivi4:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgrCTM9lF_z/?taken-by=slivi4

What made this storm unique, however, were its specially high concentrations of sand. You could even see the dust storm from space. Back on earth, skiers on the slopes in Sochi captured the snowy-sandy scenes. Here’s a great shot from Instagram user @uomkin:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgxr5Vlh9WQ/?taken-at=1440769066041567

As you can see, the unique backdrop didn’t deter anyone from enjoying a full day on the slopes. These snowboarders took advantage of the snow on the terrain park:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgv4q7_gbFh/?taken-at=1440769066041567

Have you ever seen snow like this?

Entertainment, Holiday & Seasonal, Puzzles & Brain Teasers, Travel

Related posts

Texans react to state's huge snowfall
There Was a Rare Snowfall In Las Vegas—And The Photos Are So Cool
Disneyland Paris covered in snow might be the most magical sight in France
It's been snowing in Florida thanks to winter storm Grayson

About the Author
Jennifer Nied
Jennifer Nied is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She focuses on beauty, wellness, and travel stories with a background covering the spa industry.

From our partners