After three years of health restrictions, Chinese ski resorts are packed for the winter school vacations. Chinese people are enjoying this return to life.
It is the effervescence at the entrance of the small ski resort of Nanshan, located in the mountains above Beijing. It’s hard to find an instructor because it’s so crowded. “The line to learn snowboarding is over here, skiing is over there! At the moment, all the teachers are taken”, explains an employee. If you accept an instructor with several students, it will go faster. But there’s still a 30-minute wait.”
A group of young people came from the Canton area. This is the first trip for them since 2020. Silin, in his 20s, only wants one thing, to finally enjoy life. “This is our first time snowboarding. We’re going to have a blast because we’ve been cooped up for too long. We haven’t traveled in three years,” she says excitedly. We are happy. If the health measures had been maintained, I think I would have ended up with mental problems.”
Twice as many skiers as in 2022
And indeed, the instructors are overwhelmed. “The number of people coming to learn to ski has more than doubled from last year,” says one of them. There are so many people at the resort right now, the crowds are everywhere! The ski market is really good.”
Skiing is a luxury sport in China, but no matter, this mom, who came from Beijing with her three-year-old daughter, plans to spend a lot this week. “Now we don’t wear masks when we go out. We feel very relaxed and relatively free,” she says. It’s true, skiing is expensive. The week will cost me between 4,000 and 7,000 euros. But my daughter is very happy.”
Just next door a dozen students are getting ready to climb into the chairlift. “We are very happy. We’re not locked in the university anymore. Snowboarding is so cool!” they enthuse.
“We don’t have enough money to pay for lessons so we found videos on TikTok to learn the technique and today, it’s practice!”
A Chinese student confesses
And it doesn’t matter if the atmosphere is not really winter and the snow, 100% artificial, is present only on the slopes. The skiers are simply happy to find their favorite sport, after three years of deprivation.