Skiing craze nurtures big market in China

Though it has put a ceiling on the number of customers to be received per day, an indoor ski resort in south China’s Guangzhou city still sees a flock of tourists during the weekends.

The real-name booking system of the resort shows that 60 percent of the customers are people from southern China, since the resort opened in the summer of 2019.

A trainer instructs a child how to ski at the Yellow River Stone Forest resort in Jingtai county in northwest China’s Gansu province. (Xinhua/Cheng Nan)

The resort once received a record high of 5,000 tourists in one single day, which is unusual for an indoor ski resort, said its manager, adding that more than 80 percent of the customers were beginners.

Statistics indicate that people in southern China love skiing more than their northern counterparts do.

According to online travel agency Ctrip, four out of five of China’s ski enthusiasts are beginners, while a report on China’s snow and ice consumption in 2020 indicated that among the largest 10 sources of ski enthusiasts, 8 were in southern China, with the other two in Beijing and Zhengzhou in northern China.

According to a research report on the development of China’s snow and ice industry between 2016 and 2025, the value of China’s ice and snow industry will reach 1 trillion yuan ($141.4 billion) by 2025, and 300 million people will be motivated to engage in winter sports by then.

The craze of the Chinese people, especially beginners, for snow and ice sports, has contributed to the explosive growth of the winter sports equipment market.

To keep up with customers’ growing demand for ski suits, a sportswear company in Guangzhou established an area to sell them, arranging salespersons in the selling area. As a result, its stores have reaped a significant growth in sales volume compared with several years ago.

“Last year, we reported a growth of 132.9 percent in the volume of sales made online, 337 percent in the volume of sales made via community marketing,” said Sun Na, the brand director of sportswear company KAILAS based in Guangzhou, who added that a very popular down ski jacket of the brand had been sold out in northern China as of December 2020.

Anti-shake cameras, quick-dry clothes, ski boards, ski boots, helmets and goggles have also had a growth in sales.

In addition, Chinese parents are signing their children up for skiing courses. Wu Long, a director of a skiing training school in Guangzhou, disclosed that the school has already recruited 30 students for the first phase of training courses.

The school has nearly 100 coaches teaching students from primary, junior and senior classes, said a coach, adding that as it is the busy season now, he is always kept occupied for a whole day.

Industry insiders pointed out that China has become the largest entry-level ski market and enjoys a broad prospect for ski training.