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Early snow lead to the Silk Road Ski Resort near Urumqi opening early this season:

The report also mentions a handful of improvements made to the Xinjiang resort, including new runs and cable cars, as well as improvements to its hospitality features.

The region now features 28 resorts, which is an excellent number for one of China’s less economically developed areas.

Snowboarders at the Silk Road Resort, Urumqi

Snowboarders at the Silk Road Resort, Urumqi

According to the Beijing Times, the end of January saw two unfortunate incidents on the slopes around Chongli that lead to the deaths of young skiers:

The report does not go into great detail on the events, other than stating that medical personnel assisted where possible and that reports will be produced by relevent parties.  However, further reporting is available online which sheds a little further light on the identities of the skiers – apparently it was Bao Liaocheng, a roughly 10 year old boy, who died at Thaiwu on the 18th, and a female Beijing University IT Masters Student who died at Wanglong on the 16th.

Neither skier is reported as having been with an instructor, or having been hit by another skier.  Both appear to have lost control and skied off the pistes – into trees in the case of the unnamed Beijing University student.

The two cases have caused the publication of a safety notification advising winter sports participants to ski within their limits, but no further action appears to have been taken at this time.

While assuring journalists that Beijing was in no danger of missing any 2022 deadlines, Wang Weidong of the Chinese General Administration of Sport declared plans that will result in the country being populated by 650 ice skating rinks and 800 ski resorts.

He re-stated China’s goal of encouraging 300 million winter sports participants in the run-up to the 2022 Winter Olympics, and to take the development of a domestic winter sports industry seriously.

A recent overview of Chinese skiing options in The Guardian features an interesting tit-bit at the bottom – news that the world’s highest ski resort is to be built in Tibet, in the vicinity of Lhasa:

Amongst other highlights from the article are skiChina’s Jeff commenting on Wanda’s Changbaishan operation, and updates from Andi’s Alpine Hut which serves up authentic Austrian Cuisine in Thaiwoo.

Ski Instructors undergo training at Thaiwoo

Ski Instructors undergo training at Thaiwoo