With the recent announcement that Beijing will be the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics (the first city to hold both the Summer and Winter Olympics, FYI), preparations are fast becoming a must for the country. China has already picked a ‘catchy’ slogan for it – “Joyful Rendezvous upon Pure Ice and Snow” – but how will it achieve such feats when it does not have enough annual snowfall?
You might be able to find the answer in Winterland Shanghai, the world’s largest indoor winter sports park and ski resort, which is reportedly set to open to the public in Pudong’s Lingang City in the second half of 2019, barring any delays.
Shanghai-based companies Harbour City Development Company and Shanghai Lujiazui Group are teaming up with Singapore’s KOP Properties to lay the gears for this indoor winter resort.
Winterland Shanghai will be located near the Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean World and the Shanghai Disney Resort. It is said to have cost an investment of RMB2.5 billion.
The 213,000-square-meter site is expected break ground in early 2016, and facilities will include Olympic-grade winter sports facilities, ice sculpture shows, a ski-in ski-out resort, an ice hotel, several theaters featuring a variety of concerts and shows and more, according to an official statement delivered by the developers.
Winterland is expected to attract over 2.3 million people to the Lingang area.
Not only will Winterland be quite big in the tourism sector, it also will double as a training site for Chinese Winter Olympic athletes. The ski slope, reported to be 124 meters in width, will meet the requirements for the Olympic games and professional skiing regulations.
Winterland has competition from Dubai, where plans for the world’s longest indoor ski slope had just been announced. But that’s beside the point.
In order for China to boost its winter sports rankings, parks like Winterland are a step in the right direction; however increasing participation is most crucial for these activities to take off with the Chinese people.
According to the state-run People’s Daily, the biggest ski market in China (Beijing) only has 5 percent of its population interested in winter sports, with 80 percent of them just beginners.
Since the market is so small the only lessons and gear are very expensive. Because the activities are so expensive, not many Chinese people can afford to partake in such luxurious activities. See the problem?
Though other ski resorts around China have seen an increase in participants over recent years, winter sports just aren’t hitting the hearts of the people as needed.
But President Xi Jinping promised that if Beijing won the 2022 bid for the Winter Olympics, the government would introduce a plan that will inspire more than 300 million Chinese to participate in winter sports.
It might sound intense, but in order for China to stand on par with its competitors, and increase chances to win medals in Winter Olympics Games, the government must take necessary steps to ensure that winter sports are integrated into Chinese society, not to mention a lot of snow.
So grab your skis, snowboards, skates, among other things and get excited, because Winterland is going to be the next big step in preparing China for the 2022 Winter Olympics.