Farmers’ skiing team in Beijing actively provides voluntary services for Beijing 2022

Photo shows the Winter Olympic Village for Beijing 2022 in Yanqing district of Beijing. (Photo/Beijing Daily)

In the snow-covered Haituo Mountain in Yanqing district, Beijing, a team of skiers in red winter coats weaved from side to side between flags in an S-shaped trajectory. They are members of Haituo Farmers’ Skiing Team, a well-known farmers’ skiing team in Yanqing district.


As the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games approach, many of them have joined in providing voluntary services for the grand event.


Most of the members of the skiing team are from Zhangshanying township located at the foot of Haituo Mountain and the surrounding townships. Before Beijing’s successful bidding for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Zhangshanying was only an ordinary township in northern Beijing. In less than two months, the township will host some of the snow sports events of the Beijing 2022.


Over the past few years, as the township witnessed changes with each passing day, the number of skiers of the Haituo Farmers’ Skiing Team increased quickly and their skills also improved by leaps and bounds.


Lang Enge, leader of the skiing team, was a shepherd before the team was established in July 2017. “We have members who used to grow apples, do odd jobs, sell second-hand cars, and work in the wedding industry. I once raised more than 300 sheep. The Winter Olympics near our home has brought us together,” the 32-year-old farmer recalled.


Although the average age of the initial 18 members of the skiing team was less than 30 years old, and all of them were native villagers of Yanqing district, they had an average of about 10 years of skiing experience, and many of them were master skiers of some renown in the locality.


Nevertheless, Lang knew clearly that the team needed guidance from professional instructors and professional skills training if it wanted to really accomplish something.


During the first two snow seasons since the team was set up, members of the team learnt from skiing experts, coaches, master skiers and other professionals, and made great efforts to practice their skiing skills at ski resorts.


Their hard work paid off. In the first year since the team was established, 11 of the team members passed relevant examination and obtained level-1 international ski instructor certificate.


As the skiers of the team gradually grew more professional and the management of the team became increasingly standardized, the team members’ dream of serving the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in their hometown becomes a reality.


In October 2020, Yan Qingsheng, a member of the Haituo Farmers’ Skiing Team, became one of the safety personnel of the National Alpine Ski Center in Yanqing district. Some of the members served as assistant referee at the test events of the Beijing 2022. And more than 40 members of the team have volunteered for the preparations for 2022 Olympic Winter Games.


The current size and the achievements of the team have proven that the efforts made by the team members in the past four years were worthwhile, according to Lang.


“The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is inching closer. We hope Chinese athletes will win glory for our country and claim many gold medals. Our famers’ skiing team will serve their needs at the foot of the mountain,” Lang said.


Haituo Farmers’ Skiing Team has carried out voluntary training in skiing skills on a regular basis over the past four years, training a cumulative total of more than 12,000 people.


“Our trainees come from all sectors of society and vary from three-year-olds to people in their fifties and sixties. Our job is to help them have fun skiing and tumble less,” Lang said.


The farmers’ skiing team pays special attention to students. It has given lectures on subjects including ski safety and snowboarding tips to students of elementary and middle schools in Yanqing district, laying a foundation for their participation in ice and snow sports.


Many schools in Yanqing district arrange for students to take classes on ice and snow sports five times a year, among which three are for snow sports. Voluntary services provided by the Haituo Farmers’ Skiing Team have effectively alleviated the shortage of coaching resources in these schools.


Quite a number of schools in the district have been certified as national characteristic schools for ice and snow sports and model schools of Olympics education in Beijing.


Today, Yanqing district has more than 10 active ice and snow sports teams, which have paired up with 18 subdistricts and townships of the district to jointly promote ice and snow sports, making solid progress in realizing the country’s goal of getting 300 million people involved in ice and snow sports.


The farmers’ skiing team has more than 100 members now. More and more skiers of the team have secured long-term employment at ski resorts and no longer engage in farm work.


According to Xu Ke, a member of the skiing team who works as an instructor at a ski resort, before joining the team, he earned 1,000 yuan ($156.9) to 2,000 yuan a month from farm work and odd jobs, while now his income is twice what he used to make.


Besides the farmers’ skiing team, the Beijing 2022 has also changed the lives of many villagers in Zhangshanying township.


In recent years, the township has seized the opportunity of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games to boost the development of ice and snow industry, rural B&B hotel business, and leisure agriculture, improving the quality of farmers’ lives by creating jobs for them and enhancing their vocational skills.

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