Bri­tish coach gives a boost to China’s love of ski­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - PEOPLE - By AN­GUS MCNEICE

an­gus@mail.chi­nadai­lyuk. com

De­spite the fact that an­cient cave paint­ings sug­gest to some ex­perts that ski­ing may have been in­vented in China, the sport has not been par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar there as a recre­ational pur­suit — un­til now.

The mod­ern ski­ing in­dus­try has boomed in China since July 2015 when Bei­jing was named as host of the Win­ter Olympics 2022. And, with a grow­ing mid­dle class, more Chi­nese peo­ple can af­ford to take to the slopes each year.

Twelve-and-a-half mil­lion peo­ple vis­ited Chi­nese ski re­sorts in 2015, up from around 10,000 in the mid-1990s, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Chi­nese real es­tate de­vel­oper Vanke.

In De­cem­ber, War­ren Smith, one of Bri­tain’s most high-pro­file ski in­struc­tors, who counts mem­bers of the Royal Fam­ily as clients, opened the first Bri­tishrun ski academy in China.

“There’s a ski boom go­ing on in China, they’ve got the 2022 Olympics com­ing up, they are all des­per­ate to learn and be­come bet­ter skiers,” Smith told China Daily.

In a bid to in­crease the pop­u­lar­ity of snow sports in China ahead of the Games, the gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing huge amounts in in­fra­struc­ture, an­nounc­ing plans to add 240 ski slopes to China’s moun­tains in the com­ing years.

But Smith says the coach­ing cul­ture must de­velop along­side in­fra­struc­ture to en­hance China’s chances of more podium fin­ishes in 2022. China fre­quently does well in skating but rarely ex­cels on the snow, achiev­ing only a bronze and a sil­ver across all ski cat­e­gories at Sochi 2014.

With lo­ca­tions in the UK, Italy, Switzer­land and Canada, War­ren Smith Ski Acad­e­mies pro­vide train­ing to recre­ational skiers and ski in­struc­tors us­ing con­tem­po­rary method­olo­gies.

“We have a spe­cific method of hav­ing a three-way lin­eage,” he says. “We com­bine monitoring of tech­nique, biome­chan­ics, and equip­ment. As far as I can see, no one has done that in China yet, and when we’ve brought across the in­for­ma­tion, it's been re­ally well re­ceived.”

The academy’s classes are pop­u­lar in China and Smith plans to ex­pand the op­er­a­tion, adding sev­eral more in­struc­tors.

“We also want to bring some Chi­nese skiers out to Europe to come and train with us and be­come ski in­struc­tors, so they can take Euro­pean qual­i­fi­ca­tions back to China, plant­ing the seed, re­ally,” said Smith, who has com­pleted four ski tours of China since 2013 and who has judged the Chi­nese Mogul Cham­pi­onships.

“Skiers in China have shown me more en­thu­si­asm than peo­ple from any other coun­try I’ve skied with.”

Smith at­tributes some of the academy’s early pop­u­lar­ity to Go Ski, a book he wrote in 2007 that was trans­lated into Chi­nese. It sold 120,000 copies and be­came the hand­book for many in­struc­tors in China.

Skiers in China have shown me more en­thu­si­asm than peo­ple from any other coun­try I’ve skied with.” Bri­tish ski in­struc­tors

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Learn­ers ski at a re­sort.

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