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China Enjoys Winter Sports Boom Even a Year After Beijing 2022

There’s no denying that last year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing spurred a remarkable winter sports boom in China.

The world’s second-largest economic power invested in the finest infrastructure, from ice rinks to ski resorts, as well as coaching and training personnel after winning the bid to hold the event in 2015. Over 300 million people across China reaped the benefits of the government push and had first-hand experience of various snow activities.

However, even as the dazzling light of the Olympics inevitably tapers off a year later, the enthusiasm among the Chinese people for ice and snow sports shows no signs of abating.

The large amount of high-spirited thrill seekers who have engaged themselves in winter sports during the Spring Festival holiday is a good case in point.

During the seven-day break, a total of 1.341 million people visited the rural areas of Beijing, where the Yanqing Olympic Zone remains the biggest attraction, according to the Chinese capital’s Bureau of Culture and Tourism. It represented a year-on-year increase of 54.4 percent, up 22 percent over the same period in 2019.

The Yanqing Sliding Centre, which held bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events of Beijing 2022, and the National Alpine Skiing Center, which impressed top Olympians with its world-class facilities, were one of the most visited destinations in Beijing suburbs.

The Beijing 2022 Legacy Report states that the local authorities are developing a broader ambition to turn Yanqing into an all-year tourist destination, leveraging the Olympic venues and their proximity to the Great Wall of China, and creating broader socioeconomic benefits for the local communities.

In northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, Harbin Ice and Snow World welcomed more than 30,000 winter sports enthusiasts per day during the holiday after China’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions in light of the evolving situation late last year.

Ski resorts at Changbai Mountain in northeast China’s Jilin Province also experienced a massive surge in arrivals as big bucks were spent on professional winter gear, training sessions and one-to-one private coaching services.

Even in southern Chinese provinces, where temperatures are a bit warmer than their northern neighbors and which receive little snowfall, an increasing number of beginners are starting to bask in the glow of winter sports.

Local reports claimed that snow machines worked relentlessly to meet the growing demand during the week-long holiday as skiers and snowboarders swarmed ski resorts from Alps Snow World in Shenzhen to Guilin Tianhu Snow World in Quanzhou County in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Though China has made great strides in the snow industry, there is still a long way to go before the country becomes a winter sports power. But there is no doubt that it’s on the right track for continued growth.

According to statistics from the General Administration of Sport of China, by the beginning of 2021, China has built 654 standard ice rinks, up 317 percent compared with 2015, and 803 indoor and outdoor ski resorts, up 41 percent from 2015 figure.

More sports venues and facilities are being built close to people’s homes to promote extensive public fitness activities, according to a government work report released last year. 

“We will make the most of the legacy of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics,” it declared.  

source: news.cgtn