This photo shows a sandbox model at the expo of Beijing Candidate City's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic games at the Palace hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 10, 2015. (Xinhua/Zhou Lei)
With the 2022 Winter Olympics host to be announced on Friday, Olympic candidate county Chongli hopes to win the bid and continues to "strike gold in sports".
Chongli County, administered by Zhangjiakou City, will offer venues for cross-country, freestyle and other skiing events if Beijing wins the bid.
At the Sitaizui Township of Chongli, mining activity used to be popular. Before 2012, when ore sold at 1,500 yuan (about 241 U.S. dollars) per tonne, more than 20 mining companies operated here. Annual production reached one million tonnes of iron ore.
After the price dropped to 300 yuan per tonne, all but one mining company survived.
"We are the only one left, and we are told to keep production at one third of our capacity to minimize impact on environment," said Wang Tianzhong, manager of the Heyanggou Mining Company.
In the last five years, Chongli has shifted its economic dependence from resources to tourism and service industry.
"It's better to strike gold in sports than mining. We would rather have a slope full of snow than a scoop of mineral ores," said Huang Yulong, deputy chief of the county's Communist Party Committee.
"Mining and other industrial production will be further curtailed and tourism and sports will be priority," Huang said.
Chongli is home to a handful of five-star resorts that attract professional trainers and skiers from Japan and the Republic of Korea.
In 2014, more than two million visitors came to Chongli, and spent 1.41 billion yuan, up 28.2 percent from the year before. Financial revenue from the service industry made 40 percent of the total figure in 2014.
Shi Zhanqi, a 67-year-old retired miner, lives at Guzuizi village, where residents used to make a fortune from working in mines.
"I made money working as a miner, but mining depleted my village of water and left many scars in the mountains," he said.
Now doors are locked at restaurants and shops which used to be frequented by miners after work. Less than one hundred people, mostly elderly, live in this village.
A few dozen miles away in Taizicheng village, where the landscape has not been tainted by mining, skiing has enlivened the lives of the residents.
Vegetable crops in summer and parttime job at nearby ski facilities can earn each villager 7,000 yuan a year, a "nice amount".
"I am glad our environment is kept clean," said Ren Xianzhong, village head of Taizicheng, as he offered visitors water from an underground well.
"Water here is free from pollution. I'm sure it tastes better than any bottled mineral water you can buy in Beijing," he said.
"The comparison between Guzuizi and Taizicheng villages showed which could be the way out for Chongli. We have to opt for a sustainable path of development that has minimal impact on environment," Huang Yulong said.