Watching the Culture of Winter Sports Grow in China

Can China’s increased  investment and development of winter sports infrastructure make it a more attractive country for foreign nationals to reside?

For me, the development of ski resorts close to Beijing has certainly made winters more enjoyable. Furthermore it has allowed me to continue a hobby which I have practiced nearly my entire life. It seems that in China, the growth of ski culture mirrors the country’s ever increasing standard of living.

World Class Riders

A friend of mine has lived and worked in China since 2004. Before moving to China he was an avid snowboarder and, like myself, carried on the tradition after making the transition abroad. This past weekend we visited Nanshan Ski Resort 南山, perhaps the most famous ski destination nearby Beijing.

The mountain is quite small, but they run weekend buses which you can take from two separate locations (in Sanyuanqiao 三元桥 and Wudaokou 五道口 respectively) form the city to the mountain for just 40 yuan. There is also a well-built park. So, if you are like me, you can amuse yourself flying three feet into the air with your eyes closed.

My friend tells me that back at the turn of the millennium, he was easily the best rider on the mountain. Now, there is not even a comparison between him and the best Chinese riders on the mountain. More and more we can world-class Chinese riders on the slopes.

Middle Class Culture

The rising skill level of Chinese skiers and snowboarders shows us how China is in the process of developing a new identity for its middle class spending habits.

Up until very recently if you were living in China then you really couldn’t have much hope of going to a ski resort or golf club. Now there are plenty of both.  Beijing will even host the Winter Olympics in 2022 Olympics in the nearby city of Zhangjiakou 张家口 in Hebei province 河北省.

 China… A Better Place to Live?

I think the take away for people who are interested in China is that, yes… the country is becoming a more and more welcoming place to live.

Although there are many areas where the country does still fall short in terms of outdoor sports (yes- I definitely still prefer to ride in Japan), the recent developments make China a more attractive country for both Chinese and foreigners alike.

Of course there are still many negative issues of bureaucracy, discrimination, and human rights. I don’t mean to gloss over these things. However, if you are completely apathetic to politics, you might find yourself really enjoying a China life.

Skiers and riders alike gather on the slopes of Nanshan Mt’s park 南山 to enjoy a spring barbecue and the end of the season.

What are some changes you see happening in China that are at the same time obvious, yet intriguing? Have you skied or snowboarded in China? What were your experiences?

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