Snow, ice tourism heats up during New Year holiday

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This New Year holiday, Guo Naitao and his family travelled from south China's Guangdong Province to northeast China's Jilin Province to learn to ski and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Changbai Mountain.

"We watched the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and became curious about the snow and ice world," he said. "It's worth the trip, and it's so amazing that we were even floating on a hot spring from underground."

Snow and ice tourism has heated up during the three-day New Year holiday starting Saturday, and many tourists have headed for destinations with abundant snow and ice resources.

The Changbai Mountain Wanda International Resort has recently been welcoming 3,000 to 4,000 tourists who come to ski every day, said Wang Hongli, a manager at the resort's operations and services center. The resort has built 12 snow houses with different characteristics and delicious foods.

Changbai Mountain has also attracted foreign tourists. Celine Sciau, a French national who now lives in Suzhou City, east China's Jiangsu Province, has visited Changbai Mountain for three consecutive years.

Compared with ski resorts in Europe, the ski resorts on Changbai Mountain are more friendly to beginners, she said. Chinese athletes achieved very good results at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, so more Chinese people are learning to ski this winter, she added.

In Beijing, more than 20 parks have launched snow and ice activities that will run until February 2023. Residents and tourists can enjoy winter sports such as skiing and diverse entertainment activities on both natural and man-made snow and ice.

All 84 ski resorts in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have also opened fully to the public. More than 50,000 vouchers have been issued to boost local snow and ice tourism.

Located on the ideal latitudes for snow and ice, Xinjiang is rich in these resources, comparable to the European Alps or the Rocky Mountains in North America.

The regional culture and tourism department has released 12 boutique snow and ice tourism routes linked to culture, food, sports and other elements, and covering most prefectures and cities in Xinjiang. A total of 180 activities focusing on snow and ice tourism have also been announced across Xinjiang.

In southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, the winter tourism season opened on Dec. 16, with more than 20 activities such as skiing performances and snow and ice games.

At Gold Buddha Mountain in Nanchuan District, 10-year-old Jian Yuchen is having fun on the ski slopes. Jian had wanted to go skiing since watching the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

"I learned to double-board ski last winter and fell in love with skiing. I want to challenge myself to snowboard this year," said Huang Lan, a student at the Chongqing University of Science and Technology.

The Nanchuan ski resort sees about 300 tourists on weekdays and more than 1,000 on weekends, according to Ren Yantao, a coach who has been working at the ski resort for four years.

"We expect a small wave of tourism peaks over the New Year and Spring Festival holidays, so we are working on promotion policies for winter sports tourism, and are planning to give discounts and hold performances and winter sports games," said Xu Yingchao, deputy general manager of the Chongqing Shanshui Urban Tourism Development Co., Ltd., which is responsible for the operations of the Gold Buddha Mountain scenic area.

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