In the early morning of February 5, the ancient city of Lhasa was already covered in white by the first snow following the beginning of spring. The snowflakes were still falling. The citizens of Lhasa walked out of their homes one after another, enjoying themselves in the snow.
"Mom, hurry up." 5-year-old Gyatso squatted on the ground and was pulled by his mother Rigzin Wangmo to slide forward with a rope. He laughed happily from time to time, while his family members were busy recording videos for social media. "I look forward to the early completion and operation of the ski resort in Nyingchi, and then I can take my son to experience a real ski." Rigzin Wangmo said.
Although the ice and snow sports in Tibet started late and there is still no professional ski resort, due to the unique geographical environment, the Tibetan people have a natural affinity with ice and snow. As the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics goes on, Tibet's ice and snow economy is quickly gaining momentum.
Ice and snow sports are heating up year by year
At 4:00 pm on February 8, Lhasa citizen Tashi Dhondup opened a mobile app and waited to watch the live broadcast of qualifying run of the Cross-Country Skiing Men's Sprint Free of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. "I cannot miss this this game. This is the first appearance of one of the Tibetan athletes in the Winter Olympics." Tashi Dhondup said.
The athlete mentioned by Tashi Dhondup is 18-year-old Tibetan ice and snow athlete Tsering Dradul. At the Beijing 2022, two athletes from Tibet Autonomous Region, Yongchim Lhamo and Tsering Dradul qualified for the Beijing Winter Olympics, and made a first in history.
Nyima Tsering, director of the Sports Bureau of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said that in recent years, Tibet’s winter sports started from scratch and have achieved initial results through innovative development. Since its establishment in 2016, the Tibet ski team has achieved remarkable results in cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering in international and domestic competitions. A number of outstanding young athletes have emerged, and 10 of them have been selected for the national team.
Tibet enjoys a unique geography and climate, and has strengthened exchanges and cooperation on snow sports with other areas, sending young athletes with potentials to Jilin, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, etc. for training, with an emphasis on cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering as key projects. The purpose is to build the echelon for the 2024 Gangwon-do Winter Youth Olympic Games in South Korea and the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy, and to promote the continued development of sports in Tibet.
"The development of ice and snow sports in Tibet has great prospects and a bright future." Nyima Tsering said that in future, Tibet will increase investment, innovate ideas and measures, focus on developing snow sports and cultivating new advantages in competitive sports. "I hope that the Tibetan athletes in winter sports can achieve the goal of representing the country to win medals as soon as possible, for the glory of our country and Tibet."
Ice and snow activities are blooming
"Nowadays, ice and snow sports have gained a certain degree of popularity in Tibet, and have received widespread attention and participation. We are also actively developing mountaineering and outdoor sports industries, relying on Tibet's unique outdoor sports resources and talent advantages." said Tsering Tendar, chief of the training section of the Tibet Autonomous Region Mountaineering Team.
On October 28, 2021, a campaign of bringing winter sports to government agencies, enterprises and institutions was launched in Luodui Peak, Yangbajain Town, Damxung County, Lhasa City, Tibet. Dorje, who participated in this activity, fell in love with winter sports. "Participating this event is an unforgettable experience for me, I feel very tired, but I also feel very happy after challenging myself. Tibet is rich in ice and snow resources, and I will be more involved in winter sports in the future.”
Since 2019, the Luodui Peak winter sports has become a fixed annual event of the mountaineering conference. "We hope that through climbing Luodui Peak, more people will participate in winter sports and fall in love with them." Tsering Tendar said. The 6,010-meter-high Luodui Peak has a gentle snow surface and few steep ice and rock slopes, which is relatively easier to climb, and vehicles can easily reach the snow line at an altitude of 5,300 meters. It has become one of the destinations for many outdoor enthusiasts to experience ice and snow.
On December 30, 2021, Tibet also held a series of experience activities for the Winter Olympics, including curling and ice skating, at the National Sports Training Base of Nyingchi, Tibet, which attracted many citizens and students to participate. 11-year-old Lobsang Yungzhen experienced curling. "I only watched it on TV before. Curling turned out to be so much fun. My mother said that she would take me to participate in more winter sports if there was a chance." She said excitedly.
Currently, the first ski resort in Tibet is under construction, and the site is in Nyingchi City. "This will become an ideal place for more citizens, especially young people, to experience and participate in winter sports, and also for the winter sports to reach ordinary people." said Wu Fubin, director of the Sports Industry Management Center of the Nyingchi Education Bureau.
The popularity of winter tourism on the rise
As the Beijing Winter Olympics goes on, winter tourism in Tibet has embarked on rapid development. Tibet’s snow-capped mountains and glaciers make it a must-visit destination for many tourists.
At the 2022 China Ice and Snow Tourism Development Forum, the China Tourism Academy released the "China Ice and Snow Tourism Development Report 2022", in which the " Tibetan Medicine Hot Spring" in Yangbajain, Tibet was selected as the 2022 classic ice and snow innovation project, the "Myidoi Glacier Adventure" was selected as the 2022 fashion ice and snow innovation project.
Siying, a tourist from Guangdong, has always longed for a world of ice and snow. "What attracts me most to Tibet is the countless snow-capped mountains and glaciers. This time I visited the Korchung Kangri Glacier and climbed the Luodui Peak, which made me, a southerner, addicted to ice and snow!" Siying said.
Turning "cold resources" into "hot economy", the world of ice and snow is also "gold and silver." Damxung County of Lhasa, where Korchung Kangri Glacier and Luodui Peak are located, has upgraded the comprehensive services of scenic tourism and culture, and is committed to developing ice and snow tourism, relying on resource advantages. Besides, it has trained a group of young local mountain guides, with one of them being Gyaltsen Dorlma.
As a beneficiary of the development of ice and snow tourism, Gyaltsen Dorlma said that participating in the climbing service has increased her income and broadened her horizons. Ice and snow tourism has changed her and her hometown. "Our ancestors have worked and lived under the snow-capped mountains for generations. We never thought that the cold snow-capped mountains would bring us good income. We will cherish the ice and snow resources in our hometown even more, and hope that more tourists will come to Tibet to see glaciers, climb the snow-capped mountains and enjoy winter sports." Gyaltsen Dorlma said.