Icebreaker winter sports for China’s northwest Tibetan region

Li Jianrong skis at Wushaoling International Ski Resort, the only ski area in Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County in northwest China’s Gansu Province.[Photo/Xinhua]

Li Jianrong’s life took a turn as the ice and snow industry took root in his hometown, Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County in northwest China’s Gansu Province. .

“Skiing got me out of a tough time in my life,” Li said.

Li, 27, is a ski instructor at Wushaoling International Ski Resort, Tianzhu’s only ski area. Previously, she had taken on several roles doing odd jobs but none of them lasted long.

Tianzhu is located at the eastern foot of the Qilian Mountains. With an average altitude of over 2,000 meters, the Tibetan region has cultivated the best soils to develop the livestock industry.

But young people like Li expect a better life and many would like to work in big cities.

“We are exploring ways to develop tourism showcasing the splendid landscape and Tibetan culture, but the season is a problem. We have little to offer in winter,” said Shen Zhongdao, a local official.

The rise of winter sports in China has changed fate and opened a new door for Li and the whole of Tianzhu.

In 2016, Li received a call from his uncle telling him that Tianzhu First Ski Resort was hiring instructors.

This call brought him back from Lanzhou, the provincial capital.

His first attempt at skiing gave him a lot of fun and excitement, sparking his passion for winter sports.

She obtained the ski coaching certificate in 2017 and skiing has therefore become her profession. She even met Mr. Right at the ski resort.

Li isn’t the only beneficiary of the booming ice and snow economy.

Qi Cunhai, 61, has been breeding racehorses for decades. Previously, the annual horse racing festival every summer was the only opportunity for him to make a profit.

This winter, Qi and several comrades took their horses to the ski resort. “The ski resort gives us a new stage to show and promote our horses,” Qi said.

Today, the ski resort aims to build a comprehensive leisure destination combining research, accommodation and entertainment, said Li Zhi of the company operating Wushaoling International Ski Resort.

The ski resort organized a successful winter camp, attracting 70 children.

“Through ice and snow sports, Tianzhu has nurtured a new pillar industry to increase local people’s income,” Shen said.

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