Vasaloppet boosts winter sports in China

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-1-6 10:25:16

In China's northeast province of Jilin, China Changchun Vasaloppet International Skiing Festival is more than a cross-country skiing competition.

After joining Worldloppet Ski Federation (WSF) last year, the festival reached a new high this year when it opened on Friday, attracting more than 5,000 athletes from 33 countries and regions to compete in 50km, 25km and 1.6km events.

"It was in January 2004 that I first came to China and participated in Vasa competition. I was strongly attracted by colossal snow sculptures and beautiful wooded mountain. It's kind of northern Europe style," said Bjorn Lind, champion of the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, who came here for eight times during the last 10 years. "The infrastructure and skiers are more professional than ever this year."

As Vasaloppet grows and helps Jilin's capital city Changchun become a major skiing resort in China, it brings life into local tourism and turns into a brand of Changchun.

"Every January China Vasaloppet is kind of a festival for people, which promotes popularity of ice and snow sports, the development of the local tourism. It turns ice and snow resources into an emerging industry," said Jilin sports official Song Jixin.

On January 2, relying on Vasaloppet, Changchun Jinyuetan High-tech Zone signed a 19.78 billion yuan (3.18 billion US dollars) contract with Beijing Xinxing Development Group, and also reached cooperation agreement with China General Chamber of commerce in Malaysia and Hong Kong Boda Dongfang Group.

Since 2013, China's Vasaloppet has attracted more than 2,300 entrepreneurs at home and abroad to invest in Changchun, with a total contract value of about 160 billion yuan (25.7 billion US dollars).

Vasaloppet, a Nordic winter game, originated from Sweden in 1922. Changchun became a fourth host city after Mora, Sweden; Minnesota, United States; Hokkaido, Japan.

Posted in: Society, Winter Sport

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