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A Weekend Storm Brought Orange Snow To Europe—Here’s What You Should Know

Have you ever seen anything like this?

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:

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:

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:

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:

НЕЕТ, это не тот желтый снег о котором вы подумали☺️ это, как вы уже знаете из новостей, и есть тот самый песок, который воздушные массы принесли из Саудовской Аравии и прямиком к нам на гору! В жизни это выглядит так же как и на фото – впечатляюще, но кататься по этому – сомнительное удовольствие😐 и тем не менее, я рад был оказаться свидетелем такой экзотики😎 #moodygrams #justgoshoot #aov #artofvisual #artofvisuals #heatercentral #agameoftones #fatalframes #hypebeast #pic #citysquad #gameoftones #createexplore #all_shoots #madrussians #rosakhutor #gorkygorod #krasnayapolyana #горкигород #розахутор #вотэтода #snow #mothernature #naturelover #goodvibes

A post shared by Алексей Козин (@slivi4) on

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:

A post shared by Pavel Bologov (@uomkin) on

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:

Have you ever seen snow like this?