The Chinese National Alpine Ski Team

By Bryan • china • 6 Jan 2005

Well, I certainly didn’t see this coming…

Salomon is at the forefront of the fledging Chinese National Alpine Ski Team.

The time is coming when an Olympic downhill champion will not only be decked out in a particular sports manufacturer’s gear, but be trained and financed by the company as well.

In what may be a precedent-setting move, the Japanese branch of Salomon & TaylorMade will assume the financing and training of the Chinese national alpine ski team-to “create a hero” and pocket the potential rewards that China’s vast market offers

China’s ski team is a long way from providing the hero Salomon is seeking. The most experienced skier on the team is a 27-year-old female whose skills are roughly comparable to a top-level elementary school skier in Japan.

Apparently the popularity of skiing is increasing rapidly in China. I remain, however, a little skeptical about the creation of a ‘massive’ ski market in the near future. People can barely afford to ski in North America.

Such a market would cater almost exclusively to locals as from what I understand, ski conditions in the northeast (not accounting for inadequate infrastructure) are somewhat spartan, and the terrain somewhat plain and boring. This would probably only attract a few curious foreigners (I’ve considered a pilgrimage up there) but curious foreigners generally don’t have money and generally don’t stick around. I could see skiing potential in Xinjiang, but I stress the world potential. It is called “Wild West” for a reason. Even though, I wish I had brought my skis with me as I will be heading to Urumqi and then over Yining (on the border with Kazakhstan) in several weeks.

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