Jilin vigorously tapping into prime ice and snow resources

China.org.cn, 02 11, 2022
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Jilin, a province in northeast China with prime ice and snow resources, is seeing its efforts to vigorously develop winter sports and tourism in recent years paying off, especially this winter with the ongoing Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.


The province is expected to see 85 million tourist arrivals during the 2021-2022 snow season, with an aggregate tourism income of 170 billion yuan.


A small village equipped with standard ski runs


Xiaosuihe, a small village with only 50 households in Chuanying district, Jilin city, is home to ten standard ski runs. When the runs were first built five years ago, Song Liuran, now a national grade-II athlete, went to try them and then fell in love with skiing.


Song also attracted the attention of a coach working at the Jixue Ski Resort which housed the runs, saying she could make a good professional skier. In December 2019, Song went to learn skiing at the sports school of Chuanying district, and in January the next year, won the U17 women's giant slalom title at the 2019-2020 skiing events taking place at Changbai Mountain.


The ski resort in Xiaosuihe village is where my ice and snow dream started," Song said excitedly. "There are another two athletes in the village, who are younger than me. And some boys older than me are working at the ski resort as coaches."


Xiaosuihe represents the efforts Jilin has been making in recent years to build winter sports facilities. The government builts over 400 public ice rinks every year. In the past three years, it subsidized 70 ice and snow stadiums that are opening to the public free of charge or at low prices. Each year, the average number of people taking part in ice and snow sports in Jilin reached eight million person-times.


Ice hockey introduced to schools


At the Affiliated Primary School of the Northeast China Normal University, students of the Tiger King ice hockey team were training hard, demonstrating professional skills.  


Team coach Wang Xidi, national short track speed skating champion, has been teaching at the school for 17 years. In 2019, as Jilin launched plans to build its first batch of schools with featured winter sports programs, she founded the ice hockey team.


At first, the team could only train on a frozen river by the school. Team members trained hard and perseveringly despite the freezing weather of below minus 20 degrees centigrade. Now, with government support, they can train at professional ice hockey venues free of charge all year round.


By the end of 2021, Jilin had built 557 school with special ice and snow sports programs, with over four million students having take part in ice and snow sports activities, according to Sun Dalong, an official with the educational department of Jilin.


Integration of sports with culture and tourism


Jinchangzi Ski Resort in Tonghua city was first built 60 years ago and reopened to the public in December 2021 after a major renovation. Nearby the resort there are various tourism facilities such as resort hotels, hot spring hotels and a commercial street as a result of Jilin's efforts to bring together ice and snow sports facilities, competition service facilities and holiday facilities.


"Tonghua city, located in the same latitude zone as the Alpes, has a snow season of over 150 days each year," said a cultural and tourism official of the city.


In recent years, the city has been building a demonstrative ice and snow town with a planned area of 12 square kilometers and an investment of 10 billion yuan. The first phase of the project has been completed, encompassing ski resorts, towns, schools and apartments.


Jilin has also rolled out a string of iconic ice and snow activities, from drifting on a hot spring river in the Changbai Mountain, snow land motor riding, rime scenery appreciation to visit to underground frozen rivers and fascinating night activities.


A tourist route in Changbai Mountain was among the ten select national ice and snow tourist routes designated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism this January. Now Jilin is home to 54 ski resorts and 279 ski runs, with a daily reception capacity of 100,000 people. The number of tourists received and tourist income generated increased 37.6 percent and 29.5 percent respectively.