Hundreds of skiers from home and abroad take part in a long-distance ski race on the first day of the Jingyuetan Vasaloppet International Skiing Festival in Changchun, Jilin Province, on January 4, 2018 (COURTESY PHOTO)
Yeang Makara, a 19-year-old international student from Cambodia, experienced snow for the first time in his life as he attended the joint opening ceremony of the 2018 China Changchun Ice and Snow Travel Festival and the Jingyuetan Vasaloppet International Skiing Festival in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, on January 4, 2018.
During the festivals, both of which will last for 100 days, over 100 ice and snow-related public events and activities are taking place in over 40 locations, including ice and snow sculpture exhibitions, skiing competitions, and photo contests. “My country doesn’t have snow in winters. I’m so happy to see such a wonderful frozen world,” Makara told Beijing Review.
Now in its 21st year, the annual China Changchun Ice and Snow Travel Festival has attracted more than 100 million tourists and generated revenue of 1.5 billion yuan ($231 million) in aggregate since it began in 1998, according to Yuan Jiye, deputy chief of the Changchun Tourism Administration.
A total of 1,500 skiers from 35 countries took part in a long-distance ski race on the first day of the Jingyuetan Vasaloppet International Skiing Festival, now in its 16th year. The Vasaloppet--an annual, long-distance cross-country ski race held in Sweden every March--is the oldest, largest and longest race of its kind in the world. It was introduced to Changchun in 2003.
As a veteran holder of winter events, Changchun was listed as one of the Top 10 Ice and Snow Destinations in China in 2017.
(Reporting from Changchun, Jilin Province)