YINCHUAN, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- While people in the northern Chinese countryside are enjoying their idle time in winter, villagers in Zhougou in Jingyuan county, Guyuan city of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region are busier than usual.
Ma Wu, a grocery store owner in Zhougou village, has found himself obsessed with skiing and spends nearly all his leisure time on it. "I used to watch skiing on TV in the past and never imagine I can ski in my village. To tell you the truth, I even feel uncomfortable if I can't go for just one day," said Ma.
Seated in the foothills of Liupan Mountain, Zhougou village was just a poor village five years ago, but it has been changed by the ski resort. Owing to the village's convenient location and favorable topographic conditions, the city government and a local enterprise co-invested in the Zhougou ski resort with the aim of both promoting the ice and snow sports and stimulating the tourism market in remote mountainous areas in winter.
At around 300 kilometers and boasting elementary, intermediate and advanced runs, it's known as a 'promoting ice-snow sports' training base in Ningxia, according to Zhou Bo, the marketing manger of the field.
For those who have long lived in the remote village like Ma Wu, skiing is a fashionable sport. Most people just wanted to have a look at the ski field in its first year, but now people can really enjoy the fun of the sport and the number of skiers is growing rapidly year-on-year, said Zhou. "Nearly all of the young villagers in Zhougou can ski skillfully."
In addition to a fun hobby, Zhougou villagers can also make money from the ski field. For Ma Wu, his annual sales have doubled several times; for other villagers, they can also get income by working as cleaners, selling snacks, and renting skiing gear.
With the tourism increasing, he plans to upgrade his little shop to a supermarket in 2019, said Ma. "I am practicing backward skiing lately. I dream that I can become a coach one day."