Safety get­ting new em­pha­sis at ski re­sorts as pub­lic zeal grows

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - By SUN XIAOCHEN and SHI FUTIAN Contact the writ­ers at sunx­i­aochen@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

With ski­ing emerg­ing as a pop­u­lar out­door leisure ac­tiv­ity in China, the coun­try’s win­ter sports gov­ern­ing body has called for tighter safety man­age­ment at ski re­sorts.

The Win­ter Sports Ad­min­is­tra­tive Cen­ter, China’s top win­ter sports gov­ern­ing body, and the Chi­nese Ski As­so­ci­a­tion is­sued its 2017 up­date of the na­tional ski re­sort man­age­ment guide­line last week at a meet­ing at­tended by 86 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 26 win­ter sports venues.

Guide­lines were first re­leased in 2005, and then up­dated in 2013. The lat­est re­vi­sion de­tails a va­ri­ety of safety man­age­ment is­sues such as re­sort lay­out, equip­ment stan­dards, venue pa­trols, staff train­ing and first-aid plans based on venue in­ves­ti­ga­tions, ex­pert panel dis­cus­sions and in­ter­na­tional prac­tices.

The guide­line on re­sort man­age­ment aims to im­prove the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence and safety of the coun­try’s in­creas­ing num­ber of ski­ing en­thu­si­asts.

“As the new win­ter sports sea­son ap­proaches, it is im­por­tant to let more peo­ple hap­pily and safely par­tic­i­pate in the sport to lay the foun­da­tion for 300 mil­lion peo­ple to get in­volved in win­ter sports,” said Gao Zhi­dan, vice-min­is­ter of the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport of China.

With more be­gin­ners em­brac­ing ski­ing as a cool form of recre­ation in win­ter, there have been prob­lems. Some ac­ci­dents ear­lier this year ex­posed loop­holes in safety man­age­ment at re­sorts, and the pub­lic was urged to be aware that ski­ing can have se­ri­ous risks.

In Jan­uary, in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents at two re­sorts, a fe­male univer­sity stu­dent and a 10-year-old boy died af­ter veer­ing off the ski slopes and strik­ing ob­sta­cles. The in­ci­dents oc­curred in Chongli, a ski­ing county in Zhangji­akou, He­bei prov­ince, with sev­eral ski re­sorts.

Lax man­age­ment at the fa­cil­i­ties and the skiers them­selves should be blamed for the ac­ci­dents, some said.

“En­thu­si­asm for ski­ing in China is grow­ing at an un­bri­dled pace, so re­sorts get crowded dur­ing the peak sea­son. Op­er­a­tors should en­hance safety mea­sures, and skiers had bet­ter learn how to be re­spon­si­ble and fol­low safety codes on the slopes,” said Hao Shi­hua, a former na­tional cham­pion alpine skier and owner of a ski school in Chongli.

In the up­dated safety guide­line, de­tails such as the height of fences along slopes, the size of fin­ish­ing ar­eas, fre­quency of pa­trols and promi­nence of signs have been made manda­tory for re­sorts.

Wang Lin, a ser­vice man­ager at Chongli’s Wan­long Ski Re­sort, said the re­sort has re­placed all the old fences along its 32 slopes with new ones that are more pro­tec­tive. It has also set up more sur­veil­lance cam­eras, Wang said.

The win­ter sports gov­ern­ing body will launch a com­pre­hen­sive ex­am­i­na­tion of all re­sorts na­tion­wide to look for safety prob­lems and fix them in ac­cor­dance with the guide­line, said Liu Chengliang, deputy di­rec­tor of the ad­min­is­tra­tive cen­ter.

“It is a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure the safe op­er­a­tion of ice rinks and ski re­sorts in the coun­try. We have to min­i­mize the risks and pre­vent all sorts of ac­ci­dents at all costs,” he said.

ZHANG XUAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A con­tes­tant com­petes in the Men’s Moguls event at the Freestyle Ski­ing World Cup in Zhangji­akou, He­bei prov­ince, in Fe­bru­ary.

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