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Hebei braces for busy winter sports season

By ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-18 10:11
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Enthusiasts enjoy skiing at the Thaiwoo Ski Resort in the Chongli district of Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

North China's Hebei province, which helped stage the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, has seen a winter sports boom since a series of measures were rolled out to promote related activities, leading residents to gradually fall in love with them.

The total output of the ice and snow industry in Hebei in 2022 reached 58.71 billion yuan ($8.23 billion), up 10.2 percent year-on-year, according to an announcement jointly released by the Hebei Provincial Bureau of Sports and the Hebei Provincial Bureau of Statistics in November.

The announcement detailed the total scale and added value of the province's ice and snow industry in 2022, which included related sports services, equipment and related product manufacturing, and related construction.

According to Liang Huiying, a marketing director of the Wanlong Paradise Resort in the Chongli district of Zhangjiakou in Hebei, in the first month of this snow season, the resort has received around 85,000 tourists, an increase of about 5 percent compared to the previous two years.

The district, which is about 200 kilometers northwest of downtown Beijing, staged most of the skiing events during the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"The main reason for the slight increase is that this warm winter delayed the opening of the season by about 10 days compared to 2022," Liang said.

She added the enthusiasm for skiing this winter is actually much higher than last winter, especially among novice skiers.

"In previous snow seasons, there were predominantly experienced skiers, but this season, a large number of newcomers have actively participated in the sport," Liang said.

As one of the major ski resorts in Chongli, Wanlong has 36 ski trails, with a total area of 123 hectares and a trail length of 44.99 kilometers, according to Liang.

There is also a wild snow forest area of 230 hectares for skiing, and the resort can accommodate up to 15,000 skiers a day, she said.

It is expected that the 2023-2024 snow season will end in early May, and Wanlong is expected to welcome about 600,000 visitors, Liang said.

Liu Wei, an outdoor extreme sports enthusiast from Beijing, has enjoyed skiing at Wanlong on several occasions since the beginning of the season.

"I usually come with my friends and family. We enjoy how skiing can bring us together," said the 30-year-old, who has been skiing for five years.

"Whether you're a child or an adult, you can feel the freedom and excitement that skiing can bring."

The snow season in Chongli started on Nov 8. "The ice and snow sports have been very popular in Chongli since the beginning of the snow season," said Wu Yan, deputy head of the district.

According to Wu, Chongli has made full preparations for the tourism boom anticipated during the season.

"Excluding several major ski resorts, we have prepared all-around entertainment options, including Chinese acrobatics, symphonies and music galas," Wu said, adding that they hope to provide a good vacation experience for visitors.

Other cities in Hebei, including Shijiazhuang and Tangshan, have also started their annual ice and snow sports season as more people are emerging as ski or skate enthusiasts.

In Yutian county, Tangshan, ski resorts have scrambled to make snow to draw visitors.




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