China is ‘skiing mad’ says Warren Smith

31st July 2015, by Abi Butcher

Ski instructor Warren Smith has skied twice at the 2022 Olympic venues

Ski instructor Warren Smith has skied twice at the 2022 Olympic venues

China will be an enthusiastic host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, says ski instructor Warren Smith, following the news that Beijing will host the Games, despite concerns about a lack of natural snow.

China will hold some of the Games in its capital, while the snow events will be held in Zhangjiakou, about 100 miles north of Beijing. Warren has skied at the Wanlong and Genting Ski Resorts which will host the snowboarding parallel slalom and freestyle skiing and snowboarding events.

“You couldn’t pick a nation more enthusiastic about skiing,” says Warren, who runs a Ski Academy in Verbier, Cervinia, UK and in destinations around the world. He has taught skiing twice in China.

“I’ve skied in Wanlong twice on separate visits to China and judged a freestyle competition there, and have been always very well received — you can’t fault the Chinese people’s enthusiasm and dedication.”

But, says Warren, the snow and infrastructure are concerning — as is the amount of natural snow that falls in the ski resorts.

The Chinese have insisted they will have the snow-making capability to host the Games, but some are still sceptical. It will be the second Winter Olympics in a row to rely heavily on artificial snow: the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which doesn’t have an abundance of the natural stuff either — read our report on the venue after a visit earlier this year.

The Beijing Winter Games are expected to cost up to £962m ($1.5bn) — a lot of money but still a fraction of the cost of Sochi, which cost Russia an estimated £31bn ($51bn).

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it had awarded the Games to Beijing because it fitted the IOC’s new agenda for a “stronger focus on sustainability, legacy, and transparency”.

“Beijing will rely heavily on existing venues, including those built for the Games in 2008, such as the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium,” said an IOC statement. “Thanks to an additional contribution from the IOC of approximately £564m ($880m) to support the staging of the Olympic Winter Games in 2022, Beijing is confident that it will either break even or make a profit.”

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