Huang Shan, P.R.C.
As northern China shivered its way through the coldest October since Liberation in 1949, at least some people were rejoicing. While farmers raced to batten down the hatches for the long winter ahead, those wanting to cash in on China's winter sports industry joined the rush, preparing for an extra-long season on the slopes.
China's oldest and most famous ski resort, Yabuli, open a clear month ahead of schedule. Beijing's newest suburban resort - Nanshan Ski Village
Shanghai got its first taste of ski action with the hyped opening of China's biggest indoor slope, the Dashun Hokkaido Skiing Center in October.
Snow and mountains are no problem for China (there are plenty of both, particularly in the west and northeast), but winter sports remain a minority pastime largely because the areas most suitable for skiing are also the poorest. Insufficient road and rail networks to the mountains and a lack of recreational facilities for skiers come far down a list of needs for China's.
Last winter, the China Ski Federation reported 500,000 ski visits, although most associated with the resorts believe that figure is on the conservative side, believing the true number to be closer to one million. Figures associated with skiing are all projections of estimates, but the math is still compelling: winter sports attendances are projected to reach around five million.
http://www.cityweekend.com ( Bejing -P.R.C )
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