Cold com­pe­ti­tions in win­ter won­der­lands

China Daily - - LIFE - By LI YINGXUE liy­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Driver Zhang Guoyu zipped across the ice to fin­ish the 4-kilo­me­ter race in 2 min­utes and 27 sec­onds to fin­ish in sec­ond place.

Over 90 per­cent of the course was frozen-lake crust.

“It feels cool to drive on ice, es­pe­cially when you speed up or drift,” Zhang says.

“Many peo­ple couldn’t imag­ine what it feels like to drive 300 kilo­me­ters per hour on ice.”

Zhang was com­pet­ing in the 2018 China Off-road Tour’s fi­nal from Dec 22 to 25 in the Canglang­bailu Win­ter Sports Base in Hu­lun­buir in North China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia au­tonomous re­gion.

Zhang won sec­ond place in the pro­fes­sional cat­e­gory for the team, Run­rac­ing.

Over 120 driv­ers joined fi­nals in var­i­ous clas­si­fi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing pub­lic and women’s teams.

COT founder Lyu Baokun says the tour chose to bring the event to Hailaar this year to diver­sify the plat­form.

The 2018 COT’s fi­nal is a ma­jor event of the 2018 Hu­lun­buir Win­ter He­roes Club, which started on Dec 22 and will con­tinue un­til March.

It’ll host a dozen win­ter sports com­pe­ti­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing snow­mo­bile cross-coun­try chal­lenges, For­mula 4 ice demon­stra­tions and win­ter swim­ming.

Over 100 con­tes­tants from China and Rus­sia joined the Hailaar In­ter­na­tional Win­ter Swim­ming In­vi­ta­tional Tour­na­ment, also staged at Canglang­bailu on Christ­mas Day.

The com­pe­ti­tion’s fifth edi­tion claims to be China’s high­est-lat­i­tude and low­est-tem­per­a­ture swim­ming event.

Con­tes­tants swam in a 20-me­ter long, 7-me­ter wide “pool” dug into the ice.

Ai Hua, a lo­cal who has done win­ter swim­ming for 10 years, be­lieves it makes her tougher.

The Canglang­bailu Win­ter Sports Base that opened in 2017 also hosts a 3,000-square-me­ter in­door ice-and­snow en­ter­tain­ment cen­ter.

Hu­lun­buir Tourism Group pres­i­dent Liu Chang­shun ex­plains Hu­lun­buir has long been a fa­vored sum­mer­time des­ti­na­tion be­cause of its cool cli­mate.

“Win­ter tourism hasn’t been well de­vel­oped,” Liu says.

“We want to pro­mote the sea­son. It has spe­cial el­e­ments. And it lasts from Novem­ber to March.”

Liu be­lieves the eth­nic folk cus­toms and snowy nat­u­ral land­scapes are dis­tinc­tive.

Hu­lun­buir will host the 14th Na­tional Win­ter Games in 2020.

It’s build­ing ski re­sorts and in­door ice rinks.

And Hu­lun­buir built an ice ho­tel last year, us­ing over 8,000 met­ric tons of frozen wa­ter, Liu says.

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