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Vlogger creates snowboarding hot spot in Shanghai

Updated: 2023-05-09 08:48 ( Xinhua )
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SHANGHAI — In the first winter after the Beijing Winter Olympics, Bai Yifan finally realized his dream of creating a "snowboard universe "in Shanghai, a place it rarely snows.

Bai took up snowboarding at the age of 22 in Grenoble, France, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1968.

"I chose snowboarding instead of skiing because I saw a snowboard imprinted with the image of my favorite band," Bai recalls.

From then on, Bai started his snowboarding journey. He visited many Winter Olympics host cities but never imagined that the event would come to China so soon.

Nowadays, Bai has become a snowboarding vlogger using his English name, Billy Blanc, sharing personal snowboarding experiences, professional knowledge and equipment reviews in his vlogs.

"Anyone who has watched my videos would know that I am dedicated to sharing the knowledge and culture of snowboarding," says Bai.

But Bai's ultimate hobby is collecting various historical snowboarding items. He established a studio near the Huangpu River, which is home to around 500 snowboards and a place to share more stories of snowboarding with the community.

"I hope one day I can have everything related to snowboarding culture here. The items used to be in my personal collection, but now they have been put on public display," he says.

For Bai, the most precious exhibit is a snowboard with almost all the signatures of the Beijing 2022 snowboarding champions on it.

"I think it has become a heritage item, representing the spirit of the Beijing Winter Olympics," Bai says.

The second floor of the studio displays the history of snowboarding. Bai says that the period from around 1977 to 1986 was a key stage for the development of the sport.

"Initially, snowboards were considered a toy, derived from surfing and skateboarding, but during that period, the sport became more competitive, while some snowboarders were named performers," he says.

Despite a lack of snow in Shanghai, Bai has created a "snowboard universe" in the metropolis, which he believes has the essence of sports — inclusiveness.

"It seldom snows in Shanghai, so some people may be somewhat surprised to see such a space dedicated to snowboarding here.

"But, this is Shanghai, where there are so many energetic people trying various sports. I believe that although snowboarding originated on rural hills, its unique character and fashion sense chimes perfectly with the urban spirit," he adds.

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