skiing
Skiers and snowboarders in Sochi, Russia enjoyed a unique phenomenon this weekend, which allowed them a chance to ski on orange snow. [Representational image]Creative Commons.

Skiers and snowboarders in Sochi, Russia enjoyed a unique phenomenon this weekend, which allowed them a chance to ski on orange snow! No, aliens have nothing to do with it and neither is it a conspiracy. The occurrence has a perfectly reasonable explanation behind it.

It is a sandstorm, which blew across the Sahara Desert in North Africa and managed to give the white powdery layers an orange tint. The storm turned mountainous regions of Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania into what snow dunes in Mars would probably look like.

"We're skiing on Mars today," said a user on social media as he skied down the slopes.

The sandstorm – that made its way through Greece up to Russia – was so big that NASA's satellite imagery could actually see and capture it.

The Athens Observatory also mentioned on Friday that this is one of the largest desert sand transfers from the Sahara to Greece ever.

The slopes that people can be seen skiing down are believed to be composed of sand, dust and pollen particles that were stirred up and swept across from northern Africa, in a phenomenon which meteorologists believe, happens every five years.

Due to the dust, which seemed to have covered the entire country, with concentrations highest in the last 10 years, there was limited visibility for people who tried to make their way down the slopes in Sochi.

Steven Keates, a weather forecaster at the UK's Met Office, told The Independent: "As the sand gets lifted to the upper levels of the atmosphere, it gets distributed elsewhere. Looking at satellite imagery from Nasa, it shows a lot of sand and dust in the atmosphere drifting across the Mediterranean."

People visiting the area filled up social media with photos and videos of the unusual occurrence, displaying the tangerine slopes that certain others seemd to believe were indications of an apocalypse soon approaching!

One person wrote "Martian landscape, Apocalypse Now."

Another added: "Snowy slopes were transformed into barkhan dunes."

Марс атакует ? #smurygins_family_trip

A post shared by Alina Smurygina (@sinyaya_ptiza) on

But this is not the first time Russia is seeing orange snow. Back in 2007, a similar phenomenon had occurred where mysterious "oily" orange snow fell and covered across three regions of southern Siberia.

People living in those regions had complained of how foul-smelling and oily to the touch that snow was. It was also linked to possible chemical pollution.

But this time it's different; and also only fair, since in 2016, it snowed in the Sahara for the first time since 1979 - and was followed up again by snow in the desert in December, 2017 and January of this year.