Fri, 09 Jun 2023

© Provided by Xinhua

HAIKOU, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Donning a red T-shirt and a helmet, Ran Yixin slides in a zigzag from the top of an indoor artificial ski slope in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province.

Hainan is the southernmost tropical province in China. In January, when many people in north China wear down jackets to keep warm amid heavy snowfall, people in Hainan are most likely wearing T-shirts, and some local people have never seen snow in real life.

Ran, 26, is an investment promotion supervisor. She started skiing three months ago and feels lucky to have a skiing training club in such a warm place.

"I have been looking for a place close to home where I can learn and practice skiing, and luckily, this is the ideal place," said Ran.

The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games are scheduled from Feb. 4 to 20, followed by the Paralympics, and have stirred up passion for winter sports in China. Even people in China's warm areas, such as Hainan, have started participating in ice-snow sports.

The indoor skiing training field where Ran practices, Skinow, opened in December 2018.

Skinow manager Zhang You chose to open the club in Hainan to develop ice-snow sports so people here can embrace winter sports as northern people do.

"People are eager to join in winter sports thanks to the Beijing Winter Olympics. Our initial goal is to cultivate the ice-snow sports spirit and share the spirit and happiness with more enthusiasts," Zhang said.

The club currently has more than 500 members aged 5 to 45. More people fall in love with ice-snow sports because people get to know winter sports better, Zhang added.

Li Qi, 22, is a ski instructor at the club. Born in Heilongjiang in northeast China, Li has practiced skiing for 12 years. He went to college in Haikou and became a part-time instructor at Skinow in 2018.

After graduation, he became a full-time ski instructor there. He is in charge of making class appointments for members and teaching them skiing skills.

"I am a fan of ice-snow sports. I am happy to see more Chinese people interested in winter sports, even in warm areas. Lots of youngsters come to us to learn skiing techniques as the Beijing Winter Olympics approach," Li said.

Ran Yixin said she is most impressed by Chinese star freeskier Eileen Gu.

"She is 18 years old and a skiing genius," Ran said. "I will watch the games at home, and I hope she has a great performance at the Beijing Winter Olympics," said Ran.

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