Old Summer Palace brings snow to dry Beijing

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University students from Beijing play in the snow at the Old summer Palace's Ice and Snow Festival on December 29, 2010 [Photo: CRIENLISH.com]

It's a sunny morning at Beijing's Old Summer Palace. The fields are covered in snow and several couples are taking turns to pull each other along on inflatable tubes.

But Beijing has not yet experienced a snowstorm this year. So those wanting to spend an afternoon playing in the snow must go to Ice and Snow Festival at the Old Summer Palace. Here artificial snow has been used to cover the ground and there is a large hill for climbing up and then sliding back down.

Then once visitors have worked up an appetite they can dine on Taiwan snacks and other delicious foods. All are served in traditional and warm Mongolian houses. Called Yurts, the homes are like large round tents and are still used by nomads in Mongolia.

Imperial sports competitions as well as modern games are going to be held during the Ice and Snow festival. There are also horse-drawn carriage rides, but they'll cost you extra.

The 90 yuan entrance ticket seems a bit steep for the simple attractions, but some visitors have found a way around the high price. One student from Beijing Jiaotong University managed to get a good deal "We bought tickets online, quite cheap. 98 yuan for two people. Some of my classmates have come," She says tickets can be found from online group coupon sites at about half price. Those who just want to have a look around can simply buy a general admission ticket to the Old Summer Palace for 10 yuan.

On this particular cold Beijing morning there did not seem to be many visitors. One of the attendants said it's not usually this quiet "There are more people on weekends. We have several hundred visitors every day."

The Ice and Snow Festival will run until the Lantern Festival on February 17th.

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