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Winter sports an ice-breaker for Northwest China's Tibetan area

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-03-02 13:50
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Li Jianrong skis at Wushaoling International Ski Resort, the only ski field in Tianzhu Tibetan autonomous county in Northwest China's Gansu province.[Photo/Xinhua]

Li Jianrong's life took a U-turn as the ice and snow industry has taken root in her hometown, Tianzhu Tibetan autonomous county in Northwest China's Gansu province.

"Skiing has led me out of a difficult period in my life," Li said.

Li, 27, is a skiing instructor at Wushaoling International Ski Resort, the only ski field in Tianzhu. Previously she had taken on several roles by doing odd jobs but none of them lasted long.

Tianzhu is located at the east foothill of the Qilian Mountains. With an average altitude of more than 2,000 meters, the Tibetan area has cultivated the best soil for developing the husbandry industry.

But young people like Li expect better lives and many would like to work in big cities.

"We are exploring ways to develop tourism featuring the splendid landscape and the Tibetan culture, but the season is a problem. We have little to offer in winter," said Shen Zhongdao, a local official.

The rise of winter sports in China has cast a fate-changing key that has opened a new door for Li and the whole of Tianzhu.

In 2016, Li received a call from her uncle telling her that Tianzhu's first ski resort was recruiting instructors.

This call lured her back from Lanzhou, the provincial capital.

Her first attempt at skiing yielded great fun and excitement, igniting her passion for winter sports.

She obtained the skiing coach certificate in 2017 and skiing has hence become her occupation. She even met Mr. Right at the ski resort.

Li is not the only beneficiary of the booming ice and snow economy.

Qi Cunhai, 61, has been raising racing horses for decades. Previously, the annual horse racing festival every summer is the only opportunity for him to make a profit.

This winter, Qi and several fellows took their horses to the ski resort. "The ski resort offers us a new stage to show and promote our horses," Qi said.

Nowadays, the ski resort is aiming for building a comprehensive leisure destination combining research, accommodation and entertainment, said Li Zhi with the company operating the Wushaoling International Ski Resort.

The ski resort has successfully held a winter camp, attracting 70 children.

"Thanks to the ice and snow sports, Tianzhu has nurtured a new pillar industry to increase local people's income," said Shen.

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