China Opens Asia’s First Indoor Cross-Country Ski Tunnel

China has opened what is believed to be Asia’s first year-round ski tunnel for cross-country skiers.

The new Beishan All-Weather Cross-Country Ski Resort in northeast China’s Jilin Province features a 1,308-metre indoor ski run and a 1,616-metre outdoor ski run. The facility is reported to have cost 990 million yuan (148 million U.S. dollars) to construct.

The opening of the complex will enable Chinese athletes to practice cross-country skiing all year long, Liu Yijun, a snow sports official in the city of Jilin, told media, adding that athletes from the Republic of Korea and Japan were also expected to use it for training this summer.

The facility will also be open to the public and is seen as another element in China’s aim to introduce 300 million people to snowsports by the time of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

About 10 indoor snow tunnels for cross country skiing have been built in Europe, mostly in Finland, Sweden, Germany and Slovenia with a combined downhill and cross-country ski centre currently under construction in Norway and due to open in January.