HANGZHOU, China, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- In a bustling production workshop in Taizhou, a coastal city in Zhejiang province, about 200 workers meticulously assemble ski goggles. Soon, 30,000 pairs will hit the market, a testament to the region's burgeoning interest in winter sports.
The company has introduced the ski goggles production line for six years, and orders have risen markedly in recent two years, the workshop director Pan Xinru said.
"Our production orders of last year have already been scheduled for March this year, with more than 60,000 pairs of ski goggles released each month and more than 2,000 pairs produced every day," Pan said. Yet in previous years, the production came to the off-season in October.
A worker assembles snowshoes in a production workshop in Ninghai, east China's Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua)
As indicated by these figures, Zhejiang is benefiting from the winter sports boom across the country.
In Ninghai, the winter sports equipment industry based on ski poles has an annual output value of more than 920 million yuan (about 129.5 million US dollars), accounting for over 75 percent of the total output value in China.
"Of the 10 ski poles exported nationwide, at least seven are produced in Ninghai," said Liu Wen, administration manager of Ninghai Xingda Tourism Products Co., Ltd.
Besides ski poles, snowshoes and non-slip shoe covers are also gaining popularity. "Compared with last year, the domestic sales of snowshoes increased by over 50 percent," Liu added.
Liu attributed the booming sector to a growing demand for in-depth ice and snow tourism. "Today tourists are not content with simply watching ice sculptures and snow scenes any more. They seek participation in ice and snow activities, which will further activate the market," he said.
With the winter sports facilities mushrooming across the province, spending vacations at ski resorts has become a fashion.
Damingshan Ski Resort, one of the earliest outdoor ski grounds in east China, earned nearly 20 million yuan last year. With the approach of the Spring Festival, the resort expects a peak influx of tourists.
"It welcomes around 2,000 visitors every working day and 3,000 on the weekend," said Xu Xin, managing director of Daming Mountain Scenic Tourism Co. Ltd.
This year also marks the fifth snow season of Shengxianli International Ski Resort in Zhejiang's Tonglu County. Last year, it accommodated 76,000 tourists, and the number of tourists for this year is expected to exceed 90,000.
"Thanks to the resort's rising popularity, local villagers' incomes have increased considerably," Lu Yanfeng, director of Shengxianli ski resort said. In the past year, the total turnover of 103 guesthouses in Hesheng township where the ski resort is located reached 15.08 million yuan.
According to the Sport Bureau of Zhejiang Province, there are a total of 24 winter sports fields across Zhejiang, including 18 skiing resorts. During the 2022-2023 snow season, these sites received 1.68 million visits, up 17.77 percent year on year.
It is estimated that the number of people participating in skiing and snowboarding in Zhejiang will exceed two million in the 2023-2024 snow season, and the consumption will increase by more than 30 percent compared with the same period last year.