On Sunday, January 21, some 700 young ski enthusiasts got together in the Beijing 2022 competition zone of Yanqing to celebrate World Snow Day. They were joined by thousands more at 54 ski resorts – more than twice the number of participating resorts last year -- in 21 provinces and municipalities across China, in places as far afield as Guizhou and Shaanxi.
With preparations now well underway for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the event comes as China doubles down on efforts to encourage more people, especially the young, to participate in winter sports.
Part of the International Ski Federation (FIS)’s “Bring Children to the Snow” campaign, launched in 2007 to encourage more children and teenagers to engage in winter sports, World Snow Day was celebrated in 44 countries with 516 events this year.
Incorporating the theme for World Snow Day events in China this year, “Skiing for a Healthy Childhood,” activities in Yanqing included ski lessons and fun games such as tug-of-war, snow tubes and zorbing.
Meanwhile, freestyle aerial skiing world champion and Olympic silver medalist (Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010) Li Nina made a special appearance, lending her coaching expertise to the youngsters and providing inspirational insight into the Olympic Winter Games.
Some 150 “veteran” young skiers and their coaches provided the highlight of the day with an impressive ski performance, racing down the slopes in formation carrying flags of the World Snow Day and Chinese Ski Association, as well as flags bearing the emblems of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
One of Beijing 2022's three competition zones, Yanqing is set to host Alpine Skiing, Bobsleigh/Skeleton and Luge events during Beijing 2022, it has participated in World Snow Day celebrations since 2016.
A suburban district of Beijing situated roughly 80 kilometers northwest of the city center, Yanqing is home to Badaling, the most visited portion of the Great Wall.
Following Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Yanqing has been playing an important role in the municipal government’s overall plan to promote winter sports in schools. To date, about 10,000 students in Yanqing have taken ski lessons.
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