Source: China State Council Information Office
Over 300 participants, including 155 athletes from 15 nations including Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia participated in the opening ceremony of the first “Ice and Snow Silk Road, China’s Capital of Snow “Winter Sports Games at the Jiangjun Mountain International Ski Resort in Altay, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Monday.
The games feature seven major events and 37 sub-events, including speed skating, short track speed skating, figure skating, cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing, snowboarding and ski mountaineering (or ancient horse-skin board skiing), a traditional ski activity in the Altay area.
Ice events will be held at the All-Season Sports Park and Fuhai County Ice Sports Center in Altay city, while snow events will take place at the Jiangjun Mountain Ski Resort and the Sarkobu Cross-Country Skiing Center in Altay.
“We hope that through this event, we can further strengthen sports exchanges with neighboring countries, enhance the enthusiasm and initiative of the public to participate in ice and snow tourism, strengthen and improve the construction of ice and snow sports facilities in various cities and prefectures throughout Xinjiang, provide strong reserves for ice and snow sports, and elevate the combination of ‘sports plus tourism’ and ‘sports plus economy’ to a higher level,” said Gao Zhaoyi, deputy director of the Xinjiang Sports Bureau.
He added that the Altay region, located in a golden latitude band for skiing, is one of China’s highest-quality natural skiing areas and an important training base for Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing athletes. Ice and snow sports competitions play an important role in improving the technical level of athletes and the physical health of the public, and have made positive contributions to the discovery and cultivation of ice and snow sports talent in the Altay region.
At the opening ceremony, delegates from countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, delivered speeches expressing their hopes that exchanges through the sports event would enhance communication and friendship among ice and snow sports enthusiasts.
Jiens Hadis, deputy secretary of the Altay Prefectural Committee of the Communist Party of China and commissioner of the regional administration, stated that Altay has historically been along the ancient mountainous Silk Road and gold trade route. As an important node in the construction of the northern passage of the Belt and Road Initiative, in recent years it has fully leveraged its location and resource advantages to actively promote new development.
“The countries in the Altay Mountain subregion are connected by mountains and rivers, and their cultural exchange and interaction are becoming increasingly close. Through this grand event, let us join hands and move forward together toward the future, inherit peaceful friendship, promote unity and progress, deepen exchanges and cooperation, and broaden the road of common development and openness,” he said.
Shan Zhaojian, chief researcher at the Altay Cradle of Human Skiing, recipient of the World Skiing Lifetime Achievement Award and China’s first national skiing champion, announced the opening of the winter sports games at the opening ceremony.
Delida Nabi, director of the bureau of culture, sports, radio, television and tourism in Altay prefecture, said, “This event will help to leverage the core area advantages of Xinjiang and the international-level skiing resources of Altay Mountain, enhance ice and snow sports exchanges among neighboring countries, promote exchanges and integration among various ethnic groups, and drive high-quality economic and social development, stimulating tourism consumption.”
She added that Altay will vigorously cultivate winter ice and snow tourism formats and develop the ice and snow economy by holding a series of events.