The Olympic halfpipe competition starts in less than a week and good news! The halfpipe looks a lot like, well, a halfpipe. And according to Arena Snowpark’s Blog it’s 98% straw free. That’s more good news, because a certain blogger who remembers the olden days of snowboarding told us a funny story recently. Apparently, when hay gets wet, it can spontaneously combust. They then went on to share memories of an old-timey halfpipe contest where hay was used to bolster the walls of the pipe, and about halfway through the day the walls were filled with smoking holes (and not the mouths of hipsters, either.)
It sounded somewhat unbeleivable so we decided to go all Mythbusters on it (read: google “what happens when hay gets wet?”) Sure enough, one of the first articles to come up on the matter confirmed that unless hay is kept below 14 percent moisture, microbial activity in the wet straw actually heats it up. And if it’s stored compactly enough (like say, squished really tightly together by a ton of snow), heat can build up to the point of combustion. We’re not big on “science” but sounds like the 2010 Olympics could have a bit more excitement than just double corks. We can’t wait!