WHEN winter comes to Beijing, it arrived as it often does, as a snarling Siberian wind. The cold howled through the hutongs and around ring roads.

It weaseled under the doors and through the seams of your shirt. It was early December. ''Da xue''  season had arrived., the time for ''major snow''.

But there would be no snow. There almost never is in Beijing. The waning days of 2018 had been crisp and clear with flecks of starlight pricking the orange dome of the city at night. Snow doesn't matter. What mattered was the cold. and now that it was here, the people could make it.

It was Saturday, opening day at Nanshan, one of about 10 ski areas within an hour's drive of Beijing. the resort was packed. For the past four days, Nanshan's 32 snow cannons had been firing fool-you-fluffy crystals that workers then pushed around to cover a few of the slopes.

Loudspeakers urged beginners not to take the intermediate runs. Couples lounged on sun decks  wearing bright blue rental ski jackets. Steam boiled from kitchens serving bowls of hot and numbing soups.

''Man this season was a little bit late,'' said Huang Xue Feng, or Marco to his English-speaking friends. He was in his early 40s and stocky with a scar over his eye from a snowboarding accident some time ago.

As the head-shaper for a Nanshan-based company called Mellow Parks, he'd spent the morning building small jumps and positioning picnic table just right so skiers and snowboarders could play on them. ''It'd been so warm warm, man,'' he said, in his office. ''A week ago, there was nothing here. I mean dirt.''

Real snow falls across this part of  China only once or twice a season, if that, and it is often just dusting. But the 2022 Winter Olympic Games are coming, and neither weather nor trade war can stop the world's most populous nation from cultivating the greatest snow sports boom the world has ever seen.

Multibillion dollar resorts are popping up in record time with gondolas offering views of all  the  snow-making , Groups hold school assemblies to preach the joys of sliding on snow.

''It's all part of the government's plan to create 300 million  Chinese ''winter'' sports enthusiasts by the time Games roll around. That's the entire population of France, Germany and Switzerland combined, and then doubled.

Most of the excitement is happening in Chongli, an even colder district in the Dama mountains, about 150 miles northwest. Some ski and snowboarding events will unfold there, where at least six new resorts now rise over repurposed potato fields.

For Olympic viewers around the world, their first first impression of skiing  in China will be from Chongli. Few will pay attention to Nanshan.

The honor and serving of the latest writing and research on China's upcoming Winter Olympic, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Tim Neville.


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