Chinese farmers start new life as ski instructors, popularizing winter sports

2021-10-22 13:05:10Xinhua Editor : Xue Lingqiao ECNS App Download

Dozens of villagers from Yanqing District, about 74 km away from downtown Beijing, gathered at a local indoor skiing resort for a three-hour daily practise - a routine that has been going on for more than five months.

They are members of the Haituo farmer ski team formed on July 11, 2017, and most of them were born in Zhangshanying Township, administered by Yanqing. Over the last four years, their commitment to popularizing winter sports has never wavered.

"There were only 18 members when we set up the team, but now the number has increased to nearly one hundred," said Lang Enge, a 32-year-old leader of the ski team. "It is my responsibility to lead this team to embark on a professional path in a long run."

Lang, though still young, has already become an "old captain" of the farmer ski team. "Our members used to be fruit farmers, second-hand car sellers and temporary workers, and I was a shepherd. It was the Winter Olympics that brought us together, so we should seize this opportunity," Lang said.

The name "Haituo" comes from the Haituo Mountain north of Zhangshanying Township in the Yanqing competition zone of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which has changed the lives of local residents.

"We just played for fun on ice and snow before, but now we have undertaken professional ski training with just one goal - getting a national ski instructor and referee's certificate. The Winter Olympics will spur the development of winter sports, and we can lead the public to get more involved," Lang said.

Up to now, more than half the team members have obtained this certificate, and Lang also received his international ski instructor certificate. The team has voluntarily trained more than 12,000 people since 2017.

"From three years old to over fifty, our trainees come from all walks of life, and we endeavor to help them find joy on snow," Lang said.

In recent years, many schools in Yanqing have provided opportunities for students to experience winter sports five times a year - three on snow and two on ice. Lang and his team also introduce ski equipment and safety measures to students on campus. "We make them prepared for safe skiing," Lang added.

"Yanqing is one of the three competition zones of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and I hope to make my due contribution as a ski instructor born here. I will also try my best to lead more members of the Haituo farmer ski team to find employment on snow, enabling more people to enjoy winter sports, which is our mission and a great privilege," Lang said. 

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