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Special> Beijing Readies for 2022 Winter Olympics> Features
UPDATED: December 15, 2014 NO. 51 DECEMBER 18, 2014
Winter Paradise
China's premier location for snow sports continues to grow
By Ma Li

COME AND JOIN: Skiers from Beijing enjoy themselves at the Secret Garden Genting Resort in Chongli County, Hebei Province, on November 22 (MA LI)

On November 22, groups of skiers dashed down from a mountain peak amid confetti to celebrate the opening of the Secret Garden Genting Resort in Chongli County of Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province. A number of ski resorts around the county kicked off the season on the same day.

On July 31, 2015, the International Olympic Committee will vote for the host city of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. If China wins, Beijing and Zhangjiakou, with its natural advantages as a ski resort, will hold around half the events each.

Nearby Chongli

Secret Garden Genting Resort welcomed its first group of skiers, mostly from Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Wanlong Ski Resort, another ski resort in Chongli, also welcomed swarms of skiers. Li Xiaotong, a 26-year-old professional snowboard athlete, has come here for training for four years in a row. "The snow is very good here and the temperature is just right," said Li. "The overall environment here makes it almost the best resort in China."

The development of a sport requires mass participation and skiing is no exception. "I used to be a skiing amateur, and only did it to relax. But the more I ski, the more I love this sport," said Ma Chi, a coach and Operation Director at Hao Shihua Ski Resort in Chongli. Ma is a student of the resort's founder Hao Shihua.

"In order to keep up with the world's advanced technology, we send young coaches and skiers abroad every year to learn and communicate," said Ma. "We've been to Canada, Austria and New Zealand. This has helped to improve our skiing skills."

Ma said that the training school in the resort is the first professional ski training school in China and the only official ski coach training and assessment base in China. Currently, they are developing a Chinese skiing coach ranking system.

Figures from Zhangjiakou local government show that the average snowfall in the region is about 64 cm and the snow quality can meet international competition standards. The average outdoor temperature in Zhangjiakou in winter is 12 degrees Celsius below zero, which is very suitable for winter sports.

On November 5, experts in alpine skiing, ski jumping, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding from International Ski Federation went to the ski resorts in Chongli and all agreed that Chongli is qualified to hold most of the Winter Olympics events.

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