POSTED: June 25th 2015
NewsUpdate

Beijing 2022: Zhangjiakou's skiing conditions impress global winter sports expert panel for the Olympic bid

Seven international winter sports experts talk about Zhangjiakou’s ski industry @ Beijing 2022
Seven international winter sports experts talk about Zhangjiakou’s ski industry @ Beijing 2022

Former Croatian ambassador to China Ante Simonic skis in Chongli ©Ante Simonic / Beijing 2022
Former Croatian ambassador to China Ante Simonic skis in Chongli ©Ante Simonic / Beijing 2022


MARISSA FLANDERS (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) On Tuesday (June 23), a team of international experts gathered to underline how Zhangjiakou would be an excellent host for an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games while offering ideal conditions for winter sports. The team convened at the Beijing Olympic Tower.

All seven experts have been involved in Zhangjiakou's rise as a global destination for winter sports. Zhangjiakou's snowfall conditions meet both international sports federations' and the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) standards for hosting world-class events was confirmed by the experts. They went on to explain how the city has become the go-to destination for international skiing teams to train. The city can also attract a growing number of amateur skiers who want to have fun during the winter season.

Zhangjiakou's Chongli County, in recent years, has won the acclaim of many global experts for having "ideal" conditions for winter sports. For the past thirteen years, Wei Qinghua, Chairman of China Mountain Development, Co., Ltd., has participated in the design, planning, construction, and operation of the Wanlong and Genting Ski Resorts that are both located in Chongli.

Wei Qinghua stated, "The average temperature during our 150-day skiing season is -12 degrees centigrade, with level two wind speeds. Normally, each winter we see one small snowfall every three days, one medium-sized snowfall every ten days, and one large snowfall each month."

Aside from the sufficient natural snow, experts stated that Chongli's solid ground and cold winters are ideal for snowmaking conditions.

Mojca Ogris Schimberg, Deputy General Manager of Demaclenko, an internationally renowned snowmaking specialist company, expressed that the International Ski Federation (FIS) prefers artificial snow.

She said, "No matter how many meters of natural snow you see in an area, events such as freestyle skiing require and work best on tightly packed snow on the hard ground."

Moreover, she wanted to make sure one thing was clear, expressing, "In regards to the preparation of Winter Olympics courses, the climate in Zhangjiakou is very, very good. First off, you have dry air, which is excellent for snowmaking; Secondly, a cold winter is also very necessary for making snow."

Furthermore, Wei and Schimberg both agreed that there will be "absolutely no problem" with the venue water supplies for snowmaking. Even with the added pressure that will be placed on them during the Games.  

In addition to the natural conditions of Chongli, which are ideal for Winter Olympic events, the county has become a favorite location for skiing hobbyists from all over the globe and professional skiing teams looking to train.

"Back in 2004, I saw around 50 professional skiers from South Korea and Japan using Chongli's ski resorts as training grounds," Song said, "But these days the number is closer to 600. These numbers show that Chongli is an attraction to not just casual lovers of skiing, but those who require grade-A international standard slopes," commented Song Zhiyong, Deputy General Manager of Genting Ski Resort.

Since 2003, Kim Taesoon, Vice President of the Korean Ski Association has been sending South Korean skiers to Chongli for training.

He stated, "Normally, we used to send our skiers to Europe to train, as we have always found it difficult to find training locations with snowfall greater than 40 cm in our own country."

He added, "But since Chongli began hosting FIS competitions in 2005, more and more Korean skiers head there each year to train for international skiing events."

Also, each year, Wakatsuki Hitoshi of the Japanese Ski Association, who was one of the first to conduct FIS competitions in the county, sends his skiers to the location due to its cost-efficient location. He believes that the "very hard slopes and ground" appeal to Japanese pro skiers.  

The last to speak on the panel was Ante Simonic, former Vice Premier of Croatia and also served from 2008 to 2013 as the Croatian ambassador to China. The former Croatian rowing champion is an avid skier who has fall in love with Chongli's slopes when he first skied on them in 2008.

He concluded, "With Beijing's outstanding organizational skills and Chongli's quite fantastic natural conditions, I am confident that Beijing 2022 would make an enormous contribution to the global Olympic Movement. After all, an enormous market of 1.3 billion Chinese would serve as a tremendous driving force for the global winter sports market."

** MARISSA FLANDERS is a graduate of Saint Leo University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Business. She has over four years of writing experience and has a real passion for ice hockey following the Pittsburgh Penguins on her blog www.thepenshockeyshow.com.


Keywords · Beijing 2022 · IOC · Olympic · Paralympic · Olympic bidding · Zhangjikou · China


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