Feature: China's "sock city" promoting ice and snow economy

(Xinhua) 15:25, December 06, 2023

CHANGCHUN, China, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- When you think of cities known for ice and snow in China, Liaoyuan in northeastern Jilin Province may not be among the names that pops into your head.

Although Gong Jinjie from Liaoyuan won gold in track cycling at the 2016 Rio Olympics, athletes from here have not yet made a major breakthrough in the Winter Olympics.

Besides, there weren't previously many popular destinations for ice and snow tourism. But this snow season is witnessing a boom to Liaoyuan's ice and snow economy.

The development is spearheaded by the ice and snow equipment manufacturing industry. At the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the self-heating ski socks in Chinese athletes' bags were produced in Liaoyuan. Developed with special technology, these socks can achieve an average temperature increase of eight degrees Celsius.

At the Ice and Snow Sportswear Industrial Park in Liaoyuan, workers make ski socks. Over the past two years, more than 100,000 pairs of ski socks have been sold from here.

Dubbed "sock city", Liaoyuan is a major cotton sock production base in China. Before 2020, around eight million pairs of cotton socks were sold from here and shipped all over the world every day.

Although athletes from Liaoyuan have not yet stood on the podium of the Winter Olympics, 3,600 pairs of ski socks produced here built their reputation at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Since the opening of major ski resorts in November, the ice and snow economy in Jilin Province has continued to heat up. Along with other cities in Jilin, Liaoyuan has promoted a slew of new ice and snow cultural tourism attractions during this snow season.

On November 25, Tianlu Mountain Ski Resort in Liaoyuan officially opened its doors to guests. Because it is close to the city, the ski resort is more attractive to parents, children and students. On the opening day, over 1,000 people came to ski.

Jiang Bo, general manager of Tianlu Mountain Ski Resort, said the ski resort is another tourism project built and operated by Jilin Construction Group, after Changchun Ice and Snow New World and Tianding Mountain Ski Resort. The resort covers an area of nearly 170,000 square meters and boasts a ski gear hall where tourists can receive multi-functional services.

"During this snow season, Liaoyuan will enter a new chapter for ice and snow tourism," a person in charge from the Liaoyuan Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism said, adding that Liaoyuan will also launch four high-quality ice and snow tourism routes and over 20 themed events.

Moreover, Liaoyuan enjoys some special resources. Dongfeng, a county in Liaoyuan, is known as the "hometown of sika deer" and "hometown of farmer paintings". Since the beginning of this winter, Dongfeng has combined traditional industries and folk culture with ice and snow, and built a number of internet-famous spots.

"From time to time, we let farm-raised sika deer interact with tourists, and they are especially popular among children," said Zhao Chuanyu, director of the Daqi Cultural Tourism Ice and Snow Project in Fuli Village, Dongfeng County.

Furthermore, nearby Yulin Village has launched a series of projects, such as winter research and study camps and farmer painting corridors.

Zhang Zhenyu, deputy director of the Liaoyuan Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism, said that Liaoyuan will continue to strengthen the competitive training level and help popularize winter sports among youths.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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