Youngsters from Zhangjiakou, co-host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, can ski for free at major resorts in Chongli district during the 2017-18 season, a move to inspire more young people to participate in winter sports.
Seven ski resorts - Genting, Wanlong, Taiwu, Fulong, Dolomiti, Changchengling and Cuiyunshan - will provide runs and cable car services for skiers under 16 until the end of the ski season, according to the city's sports bureau.
The aim is to create a strong atmosphere for winter sports and provide an opportunity for children to get involved in it, said Zhang Dianzhong, an official at Zhangjiakou education commission, one of the initiators of the program.
"China aims to have 300 million people participating in winter sports by 2022 when Beijing and Zhangjiakou will host the Winter Olympics," Zhang said, adding that the program is just one of many efforts to reach that goal.
Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, is where most of the skiing events of the Games will be held. The city has started the work of popularizing winter sports among the public, especially teenagers, since Beijing and Zhangjiakou won their joint bid in 2015.
The education commission also launched another program last month to organize a training program for 10,000 students to learn how to ski at Genting Ski Resort in 20 days, another effort to encourage youngsters to be involved in winter sports.
Zhang Qian, a teacher from Jingkai district's No 1 Primary School, said there are good opportunities for children to build their physique and become interested in skiing.
"For many of my students, this is the first experience of skiing and many showed their eagerness to learn more about skiing in the future," Zhang said.
According to the education commission, Zhangjiakou has developed 32 schools for nurturing winter sports talent and more than 400,000 students have participated in winter sports so far, 300 of whom are professional skiers.
By 2022, the city will have 80 special schools for developing winter sports talent, while the whole of Hebei is expected to have more than 30 million people involved in winter sports.
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