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Ski resort helps Gansu woman slide into new career

Updated: 2022-03-22 08:32 ( China Daily )
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LANZHOU-Li Jianrong's life has taken a U-turn as the ice and snow industry has taken root in her hometown, Tianzhu Tibetan autonomous county in Northwest China's Gansu province.

"Skiing has led me out of a difficult period in my life," Li says.

Li, 27, is a skiing instructor at Wushaoling International Ski Resort, the only ski field in Tianzhu. Previously she had taken on several casual jobs, but none of them lasted for long.

Tianzhu is located at the east foothill of the Qilian Mountains. With an average altitude of more than 2,000 meters, the Tibetan area has cultivated the best soil for developing the agriculture industry.

But young people like Li expect better lives and many would like to work in big cities.

"We are exploring ways to develop tourism featuring the splendid landscape and the Tibetan culture, but the season is a problem. We have little to offer in winter," says Shen Zhongdao, a local official.

The rise of winter sports in China forged a fate-changing key that has opened a new door for Li and the whole of Tianzhu.

In 2016, Li received a call from her uncle telling her that Tianzhu's first ski resort was recruiting instructors.

This call lured her back from Lanzhou, the provincial capital.

She found her first attempt at skiing to be great fun and exciting, and it ignited her passion for winter sports.

She obtained her skiing coach certificate in 2017 and the sport has since become her occupation. She even met her "Mr Right" at the ski resort.

Li is not the only beneficiary of the booming ice and snow economy.

Qi Cunhai, 61, has been raising racing horses for decades. Previously, the annual horse racing festival every summer was the only opportunity for him to make a profit.

This winter, Qi and several fellows took their horses to the ski resort. "The ski resort offers us a new stage to show and promote our horses," Qi says.

The ski resort is aiming to build a comprehensive leisure destination, combining research, accommodation and entertainment, says Li Zhi with the company operating the Wushaoling International Ski Resort.

The resort has successfully held a winter camp, attracting 70 children.

"Thanks to the ice and snow sports, Tianzhu has nurtured a new pillar industry to increase local people's income," says Shen.


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