Winter sports gaining appeal in Beijing

Updated: 2016-02-16 07:06

By Hu Yongqi(China Daily)

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Winter sports gaining appeal in Beijing

Visitors play in the snow at Taoranting Park in Beijing during the Spring Festival holiday last week.[Photo by Tian Baoxi/China Daily]

Skiing and other winter sports have become a hot new option for those spending the Spring Festival holiday in Beijing.

According to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, the capital's ski resorts received a record 84,000 visitors, an increase of 8.6 percent compared to the previous Spring Festival.

Nanshan ski resort in the northeastern district of Miyun was the top draw with 18,000 visitors, the commission said. Huaibei International Ski Resort saw an impressive increase of 93 percent from the previous Spring Festival holiday as 10,000 people paid a visit during the holiday.

Beijing and Zhangjiakou in Hebei province are to co-host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which has created enthusiasm among Beijing residents and those living in Hebei province to learn and participate in winter sports.

In Yanqing district, one of the three venues for the Games, people swarmed to ice tours and skiing, local authorities said. More than 8,600 visitors skied at Shijinglong Skiing Resort during the holiday, an increase of 20 percent compared to the same period last year. Another two skiing resorts, Longqingxia and Badaling, saw increases of at least 62 percent in the number of visitors.

Traditionally, skiers practice at about 20 outdoor ski resorts in the suburbs, while downtown districts have indoor facilities for beginners, according to the China Ski Association.

Meanwhile, other winter sports such as sledding and paintball in snow fields also gained popularity, the commission said.

Meng Jie, a 35-year-old freelance writer in Beijing, said her family skied for four hours on the beginner track at Nanshan after driving 50 minutes from downtown Beijing on Feb 9.

"Some of my friends took their families to ski, including their parents and children. The beginner track is a lot easier than other advanced slopes and we just did it for fun," Meng said.

Zhang Bing, a 30-year-old computer engineer, has been a professional skier for more than 10 years. He said the sport needs participation from nonprofessionals and he was exhilarated to see more kids learn it.

Zhang said winter sports are gaining popularity not only in Beijing but also in other places such as Heilongjiang province. "In this way, more people will learn skiing and other winter sports," he said.