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    Promoting Snow Sports at an Olympic Competition Zone


    23 Feb, 2024

    12 : 29

    • Zhangjiakou, a competition zone for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, is located about three hours north of Beijing.


      The impact of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games can still be seen in Zhangjiakou after two years. The adorable mascots Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey RhonRhon appear at every crossroads. Mountains in the area showcase the motto of the Games, "Together for a shared future." The iconic National Ski Jumping Centre, "Snow Ruyi", stands in the distance.


      On 3 February, more than 100 YCYW students and teachers gathered at Genting Snow Park for an exciting six-day, five-night ski camp. The group included 90 students from Yew Chung schools in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. Most were visiting this northern Chinese city of ice and snow for the first time.


      The highest point of the ski park is 2,100 metres above sea level. Kerry, a student from YCIS Hong Kong, was amazed, and exclaimed, "The scenery is breathtaking. The towering snow-capped mountains provide a sense of magnificence and tranquillity."

    Revisiting Genting

    on the Second Anniversary

    of the Winter Olympic Games

    • This large-scale YCYW interschool ski camp marked the beginning of a collaborative partnership between Yew Chung Yew Wah Education Network and Genting Snow Park.


      As a venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Genting Snow Park was the stage for 20 Winter Olympic gold medals and 8 Winter Paralympic gold medals. After the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, the popularity of snow and ice sports has increased in China, and the park is a venue for many international skiing events. Two months ago, Eileen Gu, the famous Gold Medalist and Olympic Champion, won the FIS Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding U-Track World Cup on these slopes.


      During the opening ceremony for the "YCYW Genting Sports Development Base", Mr Chung Ming Cheng, YCYW's Director, emphasised that Genting Snow Park is a hub for snow and ice sports in China. Through the ski camp, YCYW hopes to promote skiing within the YCYW Education Network.


      Dr Simon Lo, YCYW's Chief Physical Education and Health Officer, is a main facilitator of the ski camp. He explained that through this partnership, YCYW and Genting Snow Park will cooperate to promote youth sports programmes. In addition to skiing, the two organisations will expand their collaboration into intellectual games such as Go and chess.

    • Mr Chung Ming Cheng speaks at the opening ceremony

      Mr Chung Ming Cheng speaks at the opening ceremony

    “Make it real”

    • The 90 ski camp participants were divided into beginners camp and advanced camp based on their skiing experience, and they chose between skiing and snowboarding according to their individual interests. Under the guidance of professional instructors from the ski resort, the students greatly improved their skills in their chosen snow sport during the six days of the camp.


      Dr Lo has taught at the Institute of Human Performance of the University of Hong Kong for 26 years. His research has focussed on outdoor adventure. He believes that the essence of a sport or an exercise extends beyond the development of skills.


      "We believe that sports are a way to realise human potential and improve self-efficacy, and self-confidence. While skills are fundamental and represent the starting point, outdoor education is the most effective method to achieve these goals. In the outdoors, people learn to take care not only of themselves but also others. Being irresponsible in such a setting can pose significant dangers."


      "Make it real", he said, encouraging students to learn from real experiences. In addition to the skiing, he and his team are also exploring other outdoor sports such as scuba diving and kayaking.


      Under the guidance of their instructors, the students carefully slid down the beginners slope, gradually overcoming their fear of the inclines and the speed, while gradually building up their confidence. Outside of the ski lessons, the students dealt with an unfamiliar living environment, and learned how to share accommodations with peers and arrange their daily lives independently.


      Mia from YCIS Beijing felt quite anxious before departing for the ski camp. This was her first time skiing, and she was worried that she would be unable to adapt to the unfamiliar environment and might have difficulty getting along well with her instructors and classmates. After a few days, however, Mia realised that the situation was not as daunting as she had imagined. "When I fell while I skied, the instructor said, 'It doesn't matter; you can try again!' I thus felt very encouraged," she remarked, sharing her reflections on the camp.


      Because of a previous arm injury, Mr Brendan Markey, YCIS Beijing's Athletics Coordinator, could not enjoy the ski slopes this time. Nevertheless, he found his experience as an accompanying teacher at the camp rewarding. Every morning, while sipping coffee, he could observe his students practising at the foot of the mountain.


      "I just think it's a small world if you let it be, but if you have teachers and people in your life, you can understand how amazing the world is and all the opportunities there are. Then you can go and do some really cool stuff," he said smiling. 


      Mr Jack Jiang, another accompanying teacher from YCIS Beijing, brought his skis in order to practice at the snow park. He is a graduate of Beijing Sport University's Leisure Sports programme and an experienced outdoor sports enthusiast. In addition to skiing, Mr Jiang is also involved in rock climbing, ice climbing, scuba diving, and other sports. Reflecting on the impact of sports, he said, "Through such outdoor sports, when you accomplish a goal, your confidence immediately increases, and your mood improves. In this way, you will continue to be motivated, and you can aim for higher goals. You can also meet many like-minded people."

    • Mia shares her experience at the opening ceremony

      Mia shares her experience at the opening ceremony

    • Mr Brendan Markey talks to students from YCIS Beijing

      Mr Brendan Markey talks to students from YCIS Beijing

    • Mr Brendan Markey talks to students from YCIS Beijing

      Mr Brendan Markey talks to students from YCIS Beijing

    Skiing connects people

    • At the skiing camp, Mr Jiang met a "special" instructor Andy Cheng, who is an alumnus of YCIS Shanghai.


      Andy vividly recalls the day he first had contact with skiing: 1 May 2018. At that time, he was still a student at YCIS Shanghai, and he wanted a sport to help him bond with friends. He tried the indoor ski simulator for the first time. The experience exceeded his expectations, and he continued to learn.


      During the summer vacation of 2019, Andy participated in a ski camp in New Zealand, with the encouragement of his instructor, and experienced real skiing snow trails for the first time. Despite enduring 34 unforgettable falls, Andy discovered the joy of skiing in nature and developed a greater passion for the sport.


      Andy greatly admires the Austrian alpine skier Marcel Hirscher, because Hirscher consistently pushes his limits. Andy describes watching Hirscher ski as similar to observing a game of chance. After considering his own future in skiing, Andy decided to become a professional ski instructor. His goal has been to introduce a scientific ski training programme in China.


      "As an athlete, winning a medal would only promote skiing as a sport without improving it. As a coach, however, I have the opportunity to develop more athletes, improve their training methods, and help prolong their careers because many athletes retire prematurely due to injuries," he explained.


      To learn a more scientific approach to skiing, Andy relocated to Austria in 2022 to undergo training to become a professional ski instructor. Last April, he obtained his Ski Instructor Level 1 Certification with the Snowsports Academy in Austria.


      This time, Dr Lo invited Andy to be an instructor at the ski camp. Each time Andy accompanied two or three students or teachers on the slopes, he offered on-the-spot technical guidance. In addition, he reviewed training videos with the students after each run, and provided movement analysis and evaluation. "This time, I took one younger student from my school and two teachers skiing, and I saw how quickly they had improved. This proved that I had pursued the right path in Austria," he said.


      Whether he is sharing with his younger cohorts or being interviewed, Andy often emphasises how "Skiing connects people". Skiing has now become his way of life. Through skiing, he has been able to meet people from all over the world and visit ski resorts worldwide.

    • Andy speaks at the opening ceremony

      Andy speaks at the opening ceremony

    • Andy on the ski trail

      Andy on the ski trail

    Experiencing the sheer joy of skiing

    • Unlike Andy, many students who participated in the camp have just begun their skiing journeys.


      George transferred to YCIS Hong Kong from YCIS Shanghai Puxi last year. During the ski camp, he reunited with Bruno, his former YCIS Shanghai classmate, and participated in the activities. Although it was his first time on the ski trails, and he had—in his own words—"fallen all over the place", the experience of learning to ski alongside his good friend was truly unforgettable.


      Paula, from YCIS Beijing, has been skiing since the age of four. She was one of the few seasoned skiers among her classmates. When asked about her goals for joining the ski camp, she remarked, "Just to enjoy skiing!"


      As a novice snowboarder, Kerry is still learning to slide by shifting between the front and back edges. Terms like "heel edge sideslip" and "falling leaf" may still feel awkward to her. But at the 2,100-metre peak of Genting, she has already started imagining herself navigating the mountains. "Snowboarding is like flying freely in the wind," she said wistfully.

    • Kerry in Genting Snow Park

      Kerry in Genting Snow Park

    • Paula in Genting Snow Park

      Paula in Genting Snow Park