Cold competitions in winter wonderlands

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A car competes in the 2018 China Off-road Tour's final from Dec 22 to 25 in the Canglangbailu Winter Sports Base in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region's Hulunbuir. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Driver Zhang Guoyu zipped across the ice to finish the 4-kilometer race in 2 minutes and 27 seconds to finish in second place.

Over 90 percent of the course was frozen-lake crust.

"It feels cool to drive on ice, especially when you speed up or drift," Zhang says.

"Many people couldn't imagine what it feels like to drive 300 kilometers per hour on ice."

Zhang was competing in the 2018 China Off-road Tour's final from Dec 22 to 25 in the Canglangbailu Winter Sports Base in Hulunbuir in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Zhang won second place in the professional category for the team, Runracing.

Over 120 drivers joined finals in various classifications, including public and women's teams.

COT founder Lyu Baokun says the tour chose to bring the event to Hailaar this year to diversify the platform.

The 2018 COT's final is a major event of the 2018 Hulunbuir Winter Heroes Club, which started on Dec 22 and will continue until March.

It'll host a dozen winter sports competitions and activities, including snowmobile cross-country challenges, Formula 4 ice demonstrations and winter swimming.

Over 100 contestants from China and Russia joined the Hailaar International Winter Swimming Invitational Tournament, also staged at Canglangbailu on Christmas Day.

The competition's fifth edition claims to be China's highest-latitude and lowest-temperature swimming event.

Contestants swam in a 20-meter long, 7-meter wide "pool" dug into the ice.

Ai Hua, a local who has done winter swimming for 10 years, believes it makes her tougher.

The Canglangbailu Winter Sports Base that opened in 2017 also hosts a 3,000-square-meter indoor ice-andsnow entertainment center.

Hulunbuir Tourism Group president Liu Changshun explains Hulunbuir has long been a favored summertime destination because of its cool climate.

"Winter tourism hasn't been well developed," Liu says.

"We want to promote the season. It has special elements. And it lasts from November to March."

Liu believes the ethnic folk customs and snowy natural landscapes are distinctive.

Hulunbuir will host the 14th National Winter Games in 2020.

It's building ski resorts and indoor ice rinks.

And Hulunbuir built an ice hotel last year, using over 8,000 metric tons of frozen water, Liu says.


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