The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games is only one year away and as a ski fan and a reporter, CGTN's Zheng Junfeng has witnessed the whole process, from the application in 2013 to Beijing winning the bid in 2015, from the launch of the bullet train to ski resorts to the construction of Olympic venues.
In January, the International Olympics Committee President Thomas Bach said Beijing's Olympic preparation work was "almost a miracle" because despite the pandemic all venues have been completed a year ahead.
And they showed the art of Chinese architecture – the ice ribbon, the crystal shoe, the Snow Ruyi, and the Jade Ring. And many venues use clean energy.
Due to the pandemic, test events in those venues have been canceled. But still, over 1 million people in China have applied to be volunteers.
On another level, the ski market is growing substantially in the country. China's ski visits enjoyed double-digit growth every year in the past two decades to 20 million visits in 2019.
So the country's widely recognized as the world's biggest beginner ski market, worth 500 billion yuan ($77.4 billion). Many global brands are seeking opportunities here in equipment, coaching, events, holidays and even properties.
However, the pandemic disrupted the situation last year. Domestic ski visits dropped 50 percent to 10 million. And this year could be worse.
Northern China's Hebei and Jilin provinces reported clusters of infections. They're two key ski hubs and visits tumbled right after the new year. The Spring Festival travel restrictions may only make things harder.
But industry insiders believe China's winter sports industry has a bright future. As long as the pandemic is under control, people's income continues to grow together with their demand for a healthy life. They believe China's ski visits will hit 50 million by 2030, on par with the U.S..
It's hoped the upcoming 2022 Beijing Games will serve as a boost, opening the eyes of millions of Chinese people to this beautiful sport and lifestyle.
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