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NE China's Changbai Mountain seeking to become top-level outdoor sports destination

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-06-17 15:12
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Changbai Mountain has a long snow season from October to April.[Photo/Xinhua]

For many marathon lovers, nothing beats running in the forest and breathing fresh air in the summer. To this end, northeast China's Changbai Mountain is seeking to become a perfect outdoor sports destination.

The Jilin Border Forest Marathon Series tournament was held at the Changbai Mountain on Sunday, attracting thousands of runners to gather in Erdaobaihe Town at the foot of the mountain.

"People can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lush mountains and explore the 'top of northeast China' through various outdoor sports," said Zheng Wenqiang, event director of Changbai Mountain Shijia Sports Tourism. In Zheng's eyes, the Changbai Mountain area has top-notch outdoor sports resources in China.

"You can do running, hiking, biking, racing, skiing, paragliding, and many other outdoor activities in the Changbai Mountain area. Almost everything you need for outdoor sports can be found here," Zheng added.

Fostering harmonious coexistence between man and nature is the trademark of outdoor sports in the Changbai Mountain area. Changbai Mountain is the highest mountain system and an important ecological barrier in northeast Asia, from which the Songhua River, Yalu River and Tumen River originate. Meanwhile, Changbai Mountain is a natural museum and a gene pool.

"Despite Changbai Mountain being the 'top of northeast China', people do not need to worry about altitude sickness," said Zhang Yufan, an outdoor sports enthusiast.

"It's like running from the temperate zone to the polar region, which is magical!" continued Zhang, adding that runners can see vegetation change from broad-leaved forests to coniferous forests and then to tundra.

Changbai Mountain has a high forest coverage rate, more than 2,500 species of wild plants, and more than 1,500 species of wild animals. In addition to outdoor recreational activities in the lush mountains, Changbai Mountain also has a lot to offer in winter, becoming well-known as a skiing destination.

Changbai Mountain has a long snow season from October to April. Many high-level winter sports athletes have trained in the Changbai Mountain area, including Winter Olympic champions like Qi Guangpu and Su Yiming.

"In recent years, Changbai Mountain has been promoting a new integration model of culture, tourism, and sports against the backdrop of China's outdoor sports craze," said Geng Deyong, director of the Tourism, Culture and Sports Bureau of the Changbai Mountain Protection Development Management Committee.

In 2023, the Changbai Mountain scenic area received over 2.74 million tourists, witnessing a year-on-year increase of 260.5 percent. During the 2023-2024 snow season, the area received 720,000 tourists, an increase of 164.3 percent compared with the 2018-2019 snow season.

To meet the needs of outdoor sports enthusiasts, Changbai Mountain has also launched various trendy activities, such as ice climbing competitions, biking challenges and motoring festivals.

In recent years, Changbai Mountain Shijia Sports Tourism has been cooperating with the local government to enhance the influence of the region's outdoor sports through the commercial operation of events. "We are trying to use sports culture to let more tourists fall in love with this place," Zheng said.

In March, Changbaishan Geopark was designated as a Global Geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). According to Gao Fei, director of the Changbai Mountain Protection Development Management Committee, Changbai Mountain has obtained two world-class brands, namely UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Global Geopark. In the future, Changbai Mountain will accelerate the construction of greenways and make itself an even more popular destination for cycling, hiking, snowmobiling, and other projects.

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