As for the snowboarding slope, it has been built in the heart of the city's concrete-clad industrial area, overlooked by the massive former cooling towers of an old steel mill.
Dubious decisions by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in awarding the Games are nothing new.
Nor is artificial snow, which has often been used to top up slopes since the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York State.
For the 2014 Games in the subtropical Russian resort of Sochi, 80 per cent of the snow was fake.
But Yanqing, which hosts the alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge and skeleton, will take the phoney white stuff to new extremes. Using 49 million gallons of water, 300 snow guns will blanket the competition surfaces – despite the regular water shortages that China's parched capital suffers.The athletes seem less concerned. 'The snow is going to be similar to Russia and similar to PyeongChang in the 2018 Olympics. They both had artificial snow in parts,' said Charlotte Bankes, a snowboard cross racer and Britain's best prospect for a gold medal at the Games.
'As riders we need to adapt, but we have all been on it before.'
A bigger concern will be what might happen should a competitor speak out against their host's human-rights record. The diplomatic boycott by Britain and the US has embarrassed the Chinese, and it is unclear how they will react to any activism.
But the IOC and its president Thomas Bach prefer to dodge that debate, citing the political neutrality of their movement – much to the frustration of campaigners.
Human Rights Watch says China wants to 'sportswash' its human-rights record.
A spokesman said: 'These Winter Games reflect President Xi Jinping's efforts to burnish China's image on the world stage and distract attention from the Chinese government's assault on human rights, targeting independent civil society, erasing press freedom and expanding high- tech surveillance.'