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Tourists hitting slopes again in northeastern Jilin

2023-02-01 | China Daily

Visitors enjoy themselves at a ski resort in Jilin city, Jilin province, on Nov 15. [Photo by Zhu Wanchang/For China Daily]

  Ski tourism has regained momentum this winter, especially since China downgraded its COVID-19 management from Class A to B earlier this month, leading tourism sites to begin resuming normal operations.

  Jilin province, one of the top ski destinations in China, has seen a surge in tourist visits recently.

  Ski enthusiast Zheng Peiyao is one of the latest travelers to visit the region. Zheng, a 24-year-old postgraduate student from Chengdu, Sichuan province, traveled to the Changbai Mountain Wanda International Resort in Baishan city for the Spring Festival holiday.

  "I like the ski run here. It is around 3.5 kilometers, much longer and more challenging than those in my hometown," said Zheng, who was visiting Jilin for the first time.

  "It is good for people like me who prefer exciting sports such as parachuting, skiing, diving and surfing."

  Zheng booked a five-day tour in Changbai Mountain, spending half the time sightseeing and the rest skiing. She planned the trip as soon as the country adjusted its COVID-19 measures.

  "The facilities and ski equipment are good. It took only 20 minutes by taxi to travel from my hotel to the ski resort," she said.

  This year, many families are enjoying spending the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday together at ski resorts, where children can play happily in the snow.

  At the Tianding Mountain Ski Resort in Changchun, Jilin, people have had to line up for as long as half an hour to rent ski equipment during the Lunar New Year holiday.

  Zhu Ziye, a 9-year-old local, went to the resort with his sister and mother on Jan 19, two days before Lunar New Year's Eve.

  He said it was his first time playing outdoor sports after the recent COVID-19 peak period.

  "During the epidemic, I had to play basketball or skip rope near home. But I like cool sports and always want to play something exciting," he said. "I like skiing and was especially impressed by skiers at the Beijing Winter Olympics."

  For some amateurs, they care more about reuniting with their friends than their skiing skills.

  Cui Honghai drove 30 kilometers from downtown Changchun to the Tianding resort with his friend. The 31-year-old was attracted to the resort by short videos he saw showing people skiing.

  "We never learned how to ski, but we still have fun here, though I fell over on the slope four times," he said.

  To brace for the peak of the holiday travel rush season from Jan 21 to 27, the Tianding resort has prepared 800 additional pieces of ski equipment and has added accommodations.

  So far, 75 ski resorts have been built in Jilin, with 319 ski runs that can receive up to 100,000 people per day, the provincial government said.

  Jilin received 2.18 million skiers during the 2021-2022 snow season, ranking second nationwide, according to the China Ski Industry White Paper released by the Beijing Ski Association in July.

  The province is well known for its powdery snow fields that last throughout the winter thanks to consistent frigid temperatures.

  The Jilin government said it aims to create a world-class ski industry that is on par with global destinations including the Rocky Mountains in the United States and the Alps in Europe.