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With a history of over a century, Harbin embarks on the “Asian Winter Games Time”


HARBIN, China, Feb. 29, 2024 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/–

“With ski trails reaching up to the sky, the exhilarating feeling of speeding downhill is so thrilling.” Li Yanxia from Ningbo, who took a flight to Harbin for skiing, experienced skiing for the first time. In the Yabuli Ski Resort surrounded by mountains in Northeast China, with dense forests and deep snow, the scenery is magnificent. In 2025, the Asian Winter Games will return to this ski resort located in Harbin.

Harbin is also known as the Ice City, and ice and snow is the foundation of Harbin. Experts have confirmed that Harbin was the first stop for the entry of modern European ice and snow sports into China. Skiing in China began at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, several ski resorts were built along the Chinese Eastern Railway with Harbin as the hub, making skiing a significant winter entertainment activity for the locals.

The cultural heritage of ice and snow for a century has already merged into the city’s blood. More than 15% of Harbin’s residents are actively engaged in ice and snow sports, ranking first nationwide. Athletes from Harbin have won a total of 9 Olympic gold medals in figure skating, speed skating, and other events, making Harbin a “City of Olympic Champions” and the core area that “drives three hundred million people to participate in ice and snow sports.”

“With passion, we welcome the Asian Winter Games, warming all four seasons with ice and snow,” a heartfelt declaration from Harbin to the Asian Winter Games. A large number of volunteers are being trained, all citizens are warm and enthusiastic, and the government is leading high-quality and efficient preparations for various projects, initiating upgrades to infrastructure such as public transportation, facilities, hotel renovations, and landscape improvements, to present an “exciting, safe, green, and clean” Asian Winter Games to Asia.

At the site of the upgrade and renovation of sports venues, workers are working fervently. “In preparation for the 2025 Asian Winter Games, Harbin is accelerating the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s ice and snow sports demonstration zone and a batch of ice and snow sports facilities, encouraging social forces to establish ice and snow activity venues, and making every effort to build a world-class ice and snow economic demonstration zone,” said Dong Xingwang, Deputy Director of the Harbin Sports Bureau.

Recently, the Director of Switzerland Tourism, the national tourism organization, called out to Harbin, saying, “My last name is Rui,” initiating an interactive dialogue with Harbin. Wang Hongxin, Director of the Harbin Municipal Culture and Tourism Bureau, responded, stating that both places share similar latitudes and ice and snow resources, hoping for more cooperation in the future. The booming ice and snow tourism, coupled with preparations for the Asian Winter Games, has sparked a “two-way rush” between Harbin and the Asian Winter Games: the city, which already blends Eastern and Western cultures with a European flair, is attracting global attention.

Mass speed skating races, ice and snow sports carnivals, millions of young people on ice and snow, and other mass sports activities are heating up for the Asian Winter Games; professional events such as the Winter Triathlon World Cup, the first Shanghai Cooperation Organization Snow Mountain Bike Race, and the Asian Speed Skating Marathon are intensively held to prepare for the Asian Winter Games. Landmark tourist attractions like the Harbin Spring Snow Festival, “China’s Northernmost Snow Panda,” and “Asian Winter Games competition venues” are essential stops for the Asian Winter Games. The Ice City is demonstrating through practical actions that Harbin is ready for the 9th Asian Winter Games in 2025.

Source: The Harbin Sports Bureau