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Ice and snow festival kicks off in Xinjiang


08:59, December 01, 2011

Two Chinese Kazak people play an ethnic sport in Altay, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region where an ice and snow festival kicks off on Nov 30. [Photo/Xinhua]

ALTAY, Xinjiang – With a wide range of winter tourism industry exhibits and exciting travel packages with unique nomadic features, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region vows to become another tourist destination after Haerbin of Northeast China for ice and snow tourism, according to a local tourism official.

“Xinjiang, which has a high quality of snow and a long snowy period, has rich resources for developing winter tourism. Through more than 10 years of effort, Xinjiang’s ice and snow tourism has entered a boom season,” said Chi Chongqing, party chief of Xinjiang tourism bureau on Wednesday in Altay where a regional ice and snow tourism festival kicked off.

The rugged remote city of the northern part of Xinjiang is honored as “the cradle of traditional Chinese skiing”. In 2006, archaeologists proved Altay to be a place of skiing some 100 to 200 centuries ago, after discovering some cliff paintings of hunters on a long rectangular board with poles in their hands.

Ayanta, from Huntgut Mongolian autonomous township of Altay, together with about 50 fellow villagers, gave a wonderful skiing show on their ancient skiing boards.

“I began skiing from four years old and learned from my father. It’s quite common in my township to see people skiing back and forth, as we live in a mountainous place where snow is usually two meters high in winter,” said the 24-year-old Mongolian man.

His skies, made of horse skin and pinewood, are nearly two meters long and weigh 10 kilograms each.

“Compared with modern skies, the ancient ones are harder to learn and their speed is slower. But visitors are interested in learning about it, as only Altay offers this unique entertainment,” said Ayanta.

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