Winter sports light up China’s Great Wall

People ski at Badaling ski resort in Beijing, Jan 10, 2023. [Photo/CFP]

BEIJING — To celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Badaling Great Wall in Beijing was illuminated when the night fell during the Spring Festival holiday, which echoed the busy skiing and skating venues near the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About two kilometers from the Great Wall, the Badaling ski resort attracted tourists for fun winter activities.

“Under the guidance of instructors, skiers are allowed to enter the track after passing the corresponding level of tests to ensure the safety as much as possible,” said Yao Yu, general manager of Badaling ski resort.

“Now, Badaling is not only known for the Great Wall, but also for winter sports,” said a skier Wang Da. “It feels good to practice during the Spring Festival holiday. As an increasing number of ski resorts in Beijing have been upgraded in recent years, more people will get involved in skiing.”

On the last day of 2022, Beijing”s northwest Yanqing district launched four tour lines, starting from the city’s downtown and heading for the Yanqing Olympic Zone, Badaling Great Wall, Badaling ski resort, and Shijinglong ski resort respectively, which provided much convenience for tourists.

The National Alpine Skiing Center, venue of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, was open to the public early December 2022. The impressive mountain scenery along the different levels of tracks brought skiers much enjoyable experience. They shared their skiing videos which became popular on social media.

At the Shijinglong ski resort, children wearing colorful ski suits and cartoon cushion pads were learning skiing skills from the instructors. The resort also arranged entertainment activities for families.

“Since Beijing won the bid for the Winter Olympics in 2015, the number of tourists at the ski resort has increased year by year. With the COVID-19 response measures optimized in China, the winter sports-related consumption was further spurred, particularly on holidays,” said Chen Xiaowei, CEO assistant of Shijinglong Ski Resort.

Early this month, people at Nanshan ski resort in suburban Beijing saw Olympic champion Su Yiming won Nanshan Open with brilliant tricks, which brought back their memories of Beijing 2022.

“It’s been nearly a year since the Winter Olympics, but Chinese people’s passion for winter sports stays and is rising,” said Hu Wei, general manager of Nanshan ski resort.

At a skating venue in Yanqing district called Mengqiyuan, which means “start of a dream,” the teenager training system of practicing roller skating before turning to ice skating was further improved in 2022.

“In the past month, teenager short-track skating clubs resumed their regular training. Skating can become children’s hobby, profession, and even career in the future,” said Yu Yongjun, coach at Mengqiyuan.

According to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, there are more than 80 skating and over 30 skiing venues in the city, laying a solid foundation for cultivating talents of winter sports.

During the current Spring Festival travel rush, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway, which served the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics last year, saw rising passenger flow in ski season.

“Tourists from different cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Harbin went skiing by the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway with great enthusiasm for winter sports,” said Wang Xiaoyong, head of Qinghe Railway Station in Beijing.

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