Olympics ignites winter sports buzz in Shanxi
An enthusiast hits the slopes at a ski resort in Shanxi. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]
Winter sports enthusiasm has been on the rise in North China's Shanxi province, with the excitement generated by the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics continuing to stoke the craze.
In the wake of promotion of winter sports in schools and the increase of related venues, the number of enthusiasts participating in winter sports in Shanxi has swelled, topping 5 million over the past two years.
Visitors to ski resorts across the province have seen a significant and rapid increase.
Chen Yi, manager of Taiyuan Wulong Ski Resort, said that the opening of the Winter Olympics has unquestionably boosted the business of the resort, with daily visitors of 1,500 on weekends and holidays and an average of about 800 on weekdays.
As more tourists flock to ski resorts, the business of winter sports training for beginners is booming.
Major ski resorts in Shanxi have employed professional coaches and have cooperated with training institutions to improve the skills levels of skiers.
For instance, there are more than 80 coaches in Wanlong Baideng Mountain Ski Resort in Datong city. On weekends, each person can train three or four students on average. The number of tourists paying to learn to ski has roughly doubled from 2020.
On Dec 4, the ski resort announced a partnership with Datong's education authority to provide free skiing lessons targeting local children, with 1,000 training opportunities given to young skiers.
A visitor rides on a snow buggy in Sanggan River Ice and Snow Theme Town in Datong. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]
With the rise of winter sports, the ice and snow-related industries have also developed rapidly across the province, with new winter tourism products emerging.
Currently, there are 233 enterprises related to skiing, skating and ski resorts in Shanxi. Of these, 80 were registered in 2020 and 2021 and 62.3 percent of the enterprises each have a registered capital of more than 5 million yuan ($785,708).
The provincial capital of Taiyuan has the largest number of such enterprises in the province, followed by the cities of Datong and Yuncheng.