A playground of snow and ice

Updated: 2015-01-10 07:28

By Erik Nilsson and Yang Yang(China Daily)

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A playground of snow and ice

China's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics has interest in snow sports booming. Photo provided to China Daily

The city's East hosts the 40,000-square-meter Qiaobo Ice and Snow World, which offers year-round indoor skiing.

It takes its namesake from 1992 Winter Olympic 500m and 1000m silver-winning speed skater champion Ye Qiaobo, whose advocacy of an indoor winter-sports arena compelled the facility's construction.

It's the largest of its kind in China, general manager Xu Bin says.

The company operates two equally sized arenas in Beijing and Zhe-jiang province's Shaoxing that lure a total of 300,000 annual visitors, a 20 percent year-on-year growth rate.

And it plans to open more in southern China's Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Chong-qing cities. Chongqing and Nanjing rank among the country's "three furnaces", so called because of their scorching climates.

The existing centers' peak is summertime when 80,000 guests visit, Xu says. About 50,000 of them visit the Zhejiang facility in the sizzling months.

It seems the areas most interested in snow-and-ice sports are places without snow and ice.

"Winter sports have rapidly developed in China in recent years," he says.

"The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and Beijing's 2022 bid accelerated this."

He explains teenagers are the center's primary targets.