Alpine Ambitions (Paywalled)

TWOC’s first cover story of 2020 explores China’s plan to get millions involved in winter sports—and the realities on the slopes

“If I don’t ski powder, I think I’ve wasted my time,” declares Su Hong, a marketing expert in her 30s in Beijing. The snowboarding enthusiast, originally from Zhengzhou, Henan province, is unequivocal about where the best skiing is—and it’s not China.

Instead, Su spends almost every holiday from work riding the reliably deep snow in Japan. But despite her gripes about the domestic skiing scene, Su still recently splashed several hundred thousand RMB on an apartment in Chongli, a once-poor county about 150 kilometers north of Beijing that is now the center around which a cluster of ski resorts have been built to host the Winter Olympics in 2022.

Buoyed by government support, a burgeoning middle class, and the impetus provided by staging the next Winter Olympics, Chinese skiing is taking off. In 2016, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced plans to have 300 million people participating in winter sports by 2022—double the total number of skiers worldwide now.

This is subscriber exclusive content

Become a subscriber to continue reading

Alpine Ambitions (Paywalled) is a story from our issue, “Alpine Ambitions.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.



Sam Davies is the deputy managing editor at The World of Chinese. He writes mainly about society, sport, and culture, with his pieces touching on diverse topics from the future of China’s ski industry to efforts to prevent juvenile crime.

Related Articles