China-invented alpine ski orienteering race to be staged in Finland

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/20 22:15:59

Photo: Lu Wenao/GT

A unique Chinese skiers-initiated skiing competition will take place in Finland at the beginning of December as part of ­the efforts by the two countries to ­celebrate the Year of Winter Sports, organizers said.

Jarno Syrjala, Finland's Ambassador to China, told the Global Times that the event will boost people-to-people exchange between the two countries. 

"In Finland, skiing competition is a very traditional thing, we are very happy that it has been also taken on board in China," he said. 

"It's exchanging information and ultimately both sides will benefit from this."

Alpine ski orienteering originated from an intra-club competition between members of a Beijing-based ski club in 2013. 

It features teams of three racers who use either downhill skis or snowboards to race down different types of slopes. 

They are required to check in at every checkpoint on the slopes, and then take a cable car up the mountain again to race down a different slope and stop at checkpoints.

Some of the checkpoints are not easy to find and racers may miss them on the way down and have to redo the run.

The 2018-19 season saw more than 20,000 ski enthusiasts participate in alpine ski orienteering races in China, according to the organizing company Sportvane. 

The competition in Finland will be the first time alpine ski orienteering has been held outside of China.

The race will be held annually for five years at the Suomu ski resort in Lapland, northern Finland, organizers said.

The Suomu ski resort, which opened in 1965, is also known as the Arctic Circle ski resort.

Finland is enjoying a theme year of winter sports with China as the two countries are jointly promoting activities to boost bilateral cooperation.

China has vowed to have 300 million Chinese people take up winter sports by 2022 when Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.


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