Gao Zhidan, deputy director with Chinese State General Administration of Sports, said Thursday that safety must get top priority in the development of winter sports industry as deadly skiing accidents shocked the country.
Gao made the remarks at a national skiing safety meeting that gathered nearly 20 provincial officials of local sports governing bodies and some 30 managers of the country’s skiing resorts.
Skiing is witnessing a boom in Beijing and in China overall, where the number of resorts has increased dramatically over the past years. Additionally, Beijing’s selection as host of the 2022 Winter Olympics has also sparked widespread interest in the sport.
However, safety sometimes takes a back seat to unbridled enthusiasm among skiers and profit among resorts, resulting in occasional overcrowding on the slopes.
Two tragic deaths of skiers in Zhangjiakou’s skiing resorts last month have called attention to safety on the slopes. A 10-year-old Beijing boy died at the Thaiwoo Ski Resort in Zhangjiakou’s Chongli, about a 4-hour drive from Beijing. The accident came less than 48 hours after another deadly accident on the slopes of Chongli as a Peking University graduate student was killed in an accident at Wanlong Ski Resort.
“Skiing is a sport with fun and danger as well. We must ganrantee the safety to make the development of the ski industry sustainable,” said Gao.