torsdag 10. februar 2022

No snow, no problem: Winter sports are booming in China

Eric Zhang was born in Chongqing, in southern China, and grew up enjoying warm-weather activities. But when he went to graduate school in New York City, he began to understand the allure of snow. Since then, he has become a keen skier. Now, he's raising his twin toddlers in China as lovers of winter sports.The timing couldn't be better, as China is now hosting the Winter Olympics in Beijing. A new generation of Chinese kids is watching athletes like Eileen Gu win gold medals and beginning to dream about its own athletic achievements.

Now, unlike in years past, kids from all over China might have a chance to pursue winter sports, thanks to indoor ski slopes, skating rinks, snow simulators and other attractions that are popping up, even in some of the country's warmest climates. Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Beijing and Shenyang -- China's biggest cities -- are now home to places where adults and kids alike can play in the snow, even when it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius) outside.

Becoming an Olympian isn't the only allure. China's borders have been essentially closed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, meaning that tourists who might have once gone abroad to ski are turning to domestic travel to scratch their itch.