“World’s highest ski resort to be built in Tibet”
Published on March 23rd, 2016 | by Ollie Harrisson0
China has announced it is to build the world’s highest ski resort near Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and one of the highest cities in the world at 3,490m.
The exact details and facilities are, as yet, unknown but it has been planned as part of China’s latest Five Year Plan (running from 2016 to 2020). The new resort will potentially provide ideal conditions for the Tibet’s athletes to train in the run up to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Tibet has an average altitude of 4,500m and its high Himalayan climate offers an abundance of snow-capped mountains and glaciers, so it’s well placed to develop a ski industry. It is likely the new resort will topple the current highest in the world, China’s Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which tops 4,516m.
Tibet has five mountains higher than 8,000m, more than 70 mountains higher than 7,000m, and more than 1,000 mountains higher than 6,000m.
The deputy director of Tibet’s sports bureau, Nyima Tsering, said that it’s important to have a ski resort in the region’s capital, because it will help younger generations learn the basics of winter sports before attempting to tackle the surrounding peaks.
Nyima told China Daily, “Just as China is new to the winter sports game, Tibet also has a long way to go.” He added that he hoped “to see the faces of Tibetan skiers” at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Nyima is also the head of Tibet Mountaineering Guide School and has climbed to the top of Mount Everest three times.
The Tibetans would certainly have an advantage if they could train at high altitudes in the Himalayas. Dorje, one of a team of four Tibetan skiers, recently came eighth in the men’s event at the 2016 Sohu Cup national ski mountaineering event after training for just 90 days.
To promote the training of Tibetan talent and develop the resort, a contract has been signed between the sports bureaus of Tibet and China’s Heilongjiang province in the north-east of the country. The province is home to the country’s largest ski resort, Yabuli, which has a vertical drop of 1,200m and is open from mid-November to March.
Tibet has been attracting extreme sports enthusiasts for many years, including touring skiers and snowboarders, who trek to the top of its majestic peaks before descending. Experienced backcountry skiers and snowboarders can explore the mountains of central and eastern Tibet.
Many of these ranges are relatively unexplored and the glaciers descend from the peaks to alpine lakes and Buddhist monasteries, so visitors can enjoy the local Tibetan culture too.
China is estimated to have 450 ski resorts, all hoping to take advantage of the boost to snow sports that the 2022 Winter Olympics will provide, including current highest ski area in the world China’s Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It is near the ancient town of Lijiang in the south-west Yunnan province and boasts a gondola that goes up to 4,516m. Alpine skiing is possible in the small ski area, which is 1,000m long and 600m wide and opens from November to June.
China can also lay claim to the world’s highest lift. A modern Dopplemayr gondola takes visitors up to the Dagu Glacier at 4,843m, in the Sichuan province in the south-west of the country. Oxygen masks are supplied in the cabins, although there’s no skiing from the top.
The highest ski area in the world used to be Chacaltaya in Bolivia, where a high-altitude rope tow using a car engine was established in 1939 at approximately 5,200m. However, the lift no longer operates, due to lack of snow, even in winter.
Source – telegraph.co.uk
Author – Amanda Howard