In China, which is leading the industry's growth, winter sports are getting a big boost by the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics, with ski areas now blossoming across nearly all Chinese provinces. In 2018 alone, 39 new ski areas were inaugurated, bringing the total to 742 ski areas. Most of them, however, are still insufficiently equipped compared with Western standards. Out of 742 ski areas, only 25 approach Western standards, according to the report. The number of skiers in China is also growing quickly and is currently estimated at more than 13 million.
Another industry report released at the Ispo Munich show earlier this year indicated that the number of ski resorts grew in China last year by 5.5 percent to 770, but only 149 of them have at least one chairlift, and 26 more are in the planning stages. Only a 3 percent offer overnight accommodations, but the number has been growing steadily, by one unit per year.
There are also 26 ski domes in the country, five of which were opened in 2018, and 145 ski simulators. Twenty more ski domes are under construction, but the infrastructures being built for the Beijing Olympics will place the nearest ski resorts at a distance of only 45 minutes by train from the capital.
After an increase of 15.9 percent in 2017, the number of ski visits grew by 12.6 percent in China last year to 19.7 million, or 21.1 million including the use of simulators. Indicating that China is now the biggest beginner snow sports market, the report released at Ispo also noted that there were an estimated 38,000 snowboarders in the country last year.