Jilin ski resort offering sublime rime scenery

Updated: Mar 15, 2024 By Liu Mingtai in Changchun and Zhou Huiying China Daily Print
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Visitors can now enjoy the spectacular scenery of soft rime year-round at the newly opened indoor rime ice laboratory at the Jilin Beishan Four Seasons Cross-country Ski Park in Jilin city, Jilin province.

Rime is a special type of frost resembling granular tufts of ice. It only appears under certain conditions of temperature and humidity. For example, warm water vapor from a river meets cold air above, which can create beautiful rime formations on nearby trees.

The 470-square-meter-lab, which opened shortly before the Spring Festival holiday, is the first of its kind in China. Visitors can see how rime is formed and take in the views of the beautiful, ice-encased objects.

"To give tourists, especially those from the southern regions, more beautiful memories of the city, we started the laboratory in September," said Xu Hongbo, director of the park's operating department. "After more than two months of experimentation and adjustments, experts from the city's meteorological bureau figured out the best way to make rime on a tree in the park.

"Then we expanded the laboratory to 470 sq m," he said. "Since operations began just before the Spring Festival, we have received more than 10,000 visitors, most of whom came from the southern regions."

Pang Peilin, an expert from the bureau said: "We have collected a large amount of information from extensive and long-term field observations, including temperature, pressure, humidity, wind, and the diameter of rime ice particles, which can form the rime.

"In the indoor environment, we simulate the local winter climate," he said. "Through experiments, we have replicated the rime ice, and both the fluffiness and the sensory experience match those found in the wild."

The city's rime ice is known as one of the four meteorological wonders of China and is unique because it is thick and crystal clear.

The best time to enjoy rime ice views in the city is from late December to February.

"I regretted missing the rime ice season when I came to Jilin in late February," said Yu Hua, a tourist from Nantong, Jiangsu province. "When the hotel staff told me the park offers rime ice and snow sculptures, as well as skiing, I immediately went to the park, where I spent a wonderful day with my family members."

The ski park is the first in Asia and currently the world's largest single indoor cross-country ski facility to offer all-weather, standardized ski training.

It covers more than 25,000 sq m, with four main indoor professional ski runs closely mimicking undulating cross-country conditions that stretch over 1.3 kilometers, all maintained by state-of-the-art snowmaking systems.

The temperature in the facility is maintained at — 6 C throughout the year, according to Xu.

Before opening to the public on Nov 18, the park received over 40 professional cross-country skiing teams made up of 2,234 athletes who came for training. It was also involved in preparations for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Games.

The park has added new ice and snow-experiencing activities, including a snow sculpture area, and snow amusement areas, as well as an all-terrain area for cross-country karting.

"We provide services such as warming facilities and free hot drinks for our visitors," Xu said. "Over the past three months, we have received more than 20,000 visitors and have gained a good reputation at home and abroad, serving as a model for international ice and snow sports in the province.

"We believe it will undoubtedly become a new landmark destination for ice and snow tourism in the city," he added.

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