With the 2022 Winter Olympic Games looming ahead, the popularity of winter sports in China is not confined to the colder areas. Southern China is also seeing a huge surge in interest as well.
The Nan Tianhu ski resort was opened in China's southwestern municipality of Chongqing on Monday. The ski resort brings the city a new destination to embrace winter sports.
Like many other cities in southern China, because of barely any snow in winter, Chongqing has no real winter sports tradition.
But things are changing. With the country soon to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, people and businesses are bracing for winter sports frenzy.
During the trial operation of the Nan Tianhu skiing resort, hundreds of people rushed to the resort. "The peak reached 600 people a day. That is beyond our expectations," said Zhao Qian, a director of the resort.
Fengdu Nan Tianhu ski resort is an ideal location for skiing. It is located in Fengdu county, 170 kilometers away from the central city. It covers 36 square kilometers, and is the largest ski venue in Chonqing. Located at a height of 1800 meters, the resort boasts trails ranging in difficulty from "beginner" to "high". The resort has a daily capacity of 3,000 people.
Wang Song, chairman of Chongqing Nan Tianhu skiing venue, said people can get professional ski training in Nan Tianhu. In the future, they will improve the facilities by installing cable lines and setting up hotels to meet the huge demand.
Committed to inspiring 300 million people to join winter sports, local governments across the country are going all-out in their goal to push winter sports forward.
How do you bring skiing to the hot and humid south? Zhao Qian says that that lack of snow and ice actually makes people more enthusiastic about winter sports. "Winter sports should not be limited to the country's north," Zhao Qian said.
Many steps have been taken to ensure that winter sports are possible in Nan Tianhu skiing resort. Man-made snow, skiing schools, portable and indoor skiing fields are all said to be on the cards for future development.
"The market is huge. We should cultivate the interest first. Secondly, we have to combine it with the tourist industry," said Zhao.