PLANS TO BRING SNOW TO MOOREA ISLAND

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PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (March 13, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---In an unprecedented move, a group of private companies is planning to bring artificial snow to Tahiti’s sister island of Moorea, the daily newspaper La Dépêche de Tahiti reports.

Organizers are planning to create a snowfall on Moorea, at Temae Point.

The "happening," codenamed "Operation Snow Polynésie," is scheduled to take place in mid-September.

"It is no longer a planned project, it is something real," French organizers André Leplus and Lina Huan, said.

The two are professional skiers and share their time between French Polynesia and the French Alps.

"What we're going to do is build a track of about 25 meters (82.5 feet) wide and 50 meters (165 feet) long.

A private company, Polarsnow, will provide the artificial snow, made of air, liquid nitrogen and water.

They expect to build a 30-centimeter (11.811 inch) layer of snow on the track.

The estimated cost of the operation is about 10 million French Pacific Francs (about US$ 78,000).

Airplanes will be chartered to bring VIPs to Moorea to witness the event, which the organizers hope will increase tourist arrivals.

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