Grassroots skiing competition to start new season

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/28 23:02:40

Photo: Courtesy of organizers

The Alpine Ski Orienteering Open will return for the new season next month, organizers said, with the event growing from three races last season to five this season. 

Beidahu, the 2007 Asian Winter Games venue in Northeast China's Jilin Province, will host the season opener of the competition for amateur skiers on December 21, and the tournament will travel to Yabuli in Heilongjiang Province on January 11.

The event will travel to Finland for the first time in January after the Yabuli race, as part of the Year of Winter Sports celebrated between China and Finland.

After the Finland race, Aoshan in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province will host the race, before the season finale in Zhangjiakou, North China's Hebei Province, where some of the skiing races of the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held.

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 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.

Participants for the new season are expected to average around 3,000, organizers said, as last year's season finale received more than 20,000 applications. 

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

Li Chungang, general manager of Sportvane, the company that organizes the event, said the tournament is in talks with countries including Japan and Canada on "exporting" the sport there.


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