China to Invest $5 Billion into Winter Sports

Mike Lavery | | Industry NewsIndustry NewsFeatured ArticleFeatured Article
China skiing
Altay City, China. One of the birthplaces of Chinese Skiing. Photo: SkiChina

When you think about skiing in Asia, the first country that pops into your head is Japan, right? While not known for steep slopes and endless powder, the Chinese snow sports industry is growing rapidly, now with the help of the Chinese Government. The Bank of China will inject 30 billion yuan, or 4.8 million dollars into winter sports over the next 6 years.

Skiing has been traced back 10,000 years in Chinese culture, but not until about 20 years ago did it really take off amongst the general public. The choice of Beijing for the 2022 Olympics seemed like an odd one to many, but it turns out to be the epicenter of the young Chinese ski culture, with 22 ski areas nearby. Storms passing through Mongolia and onward to Japan drop deep snow in the volcanic regions just to the north.

China skiing
The high end Wanda Resort in Changbaishan. Photo: SkiChina

China actually has 703 ski areas, which is 57% more than it did one year ago. Many of them are bare bones grassy slopes, small indoor hills, or rely completely on man made snow, but growth is rapid none the less. President Xi Jinping hopes to make that number 1,000 by the 2022 Olympics. For comparison, the United States has roughly 480 ski areas, and that number has been on a gradual downward trend over the last few decades.

Last year, China recorded 17.5 million skier visits, an increase of 16%, while the U.S. saw 53.3 million visits, a decrease of 2.8%.¬†With the new influx of funding, the Chinese President hopes to see 100 million new Chinese people get involved in winter sports, and to have 300 million winter sports participants by 2022. There’s also no doubt China is looking for fresh talent to win a few medals at the Beijing Games and add to the nation’s single gold medal in aerials from 2006.

Who knows, your next ski trip may end up being to Jackson Hole, China.

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