BEIJING SNAPSHOT: Getting to China’s new national ski venue

Feb 12, 2022, 6:32 AM | Updated: 9:02 pm
A worker clears snow from the stands in the finish area at the alpine ski venue at the 2022 Winter ...

A worker clears snow from the stands in the finish area at the alpine ski venue at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

YANQING, China (AP) — Bus, bus, train, bus, bus, gondola, gondola, gondola.

The journey from the heart of Beijing to the alpine ski venue is only about 120 kilometers (75 miles), but getting there via the Olympic transit system — hermetically sealed against COVID-19 — makes for a rather epic journey. And on Sunday, amid uncharacteristically heavy snowfall, a scenic one too.

Along the way, you pass from the flat urban sprawl of the capital into the steep, craggy mountains to its north, through numerous tunnels and past about a million signs bearing the ever-present Olympic panda mascot, Bing Dwen Dwen.

The trip begins with a bus ride from your hotel in central Beijing to the Main Media Center’s bus depot, and from there on another bus to the Qinghe railway station, where you board a high-speed train. This silky ride passes suburbs, farms and endless orderly rows of newly planted trees, and lasts only about 25 minutes before arriving at Yanqing’s modern train station. Not seen during Sunday’s whiteout: a section of the Badaling Great Wall reportedly visible from the train on clearer days.

The station may be called Yanqing, but your journey at this point has really only just begun. Another bus deposits you at a forlorn parking lot on the side of a highway, where you wait for the next and final bus, which climbs into the mountains, through brightly lit tunnels and over vertiginous ravines before finally arriving at the National Alpine Ski Center.

Though one of the signature images of these Olympics has been the ribbons of white artificial snow contrasted against the area’s brown, scrubby mountainsides, Sunday’s natural snowfall transformed the whole area into a much more traditional alpine scene.

For a ski area purpose-built for these Games, the infrastructure is astounding, from the expansive base village to four gleaming gondolas, three of which are required to finally reach the finish of Sunday’s men’s giant slalom.

Despite all this investment, the ski area itself is unlikely to ever become a destination resort. This is because of the steep pitches of its slopes that are unsuitable for novice skiers, and its meager annual snowfall of around 5 centimeters (2 inches).

Sunday’s storm, however, easily exceeded that amount, making for a race that was high on drama … and low on visibility.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Xiyu Lin, of China, reacts after missing a putt on the 17th green during the final round of the LPG...
Associated Press

Xiyu Lin makes late eagle to take LPGA lead in Texas

THE COLONY, Texas (AP) — Xiyu Lin of China made a 10-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th hole Thursday that sent her to a 6-under 65 and a one-shot lead in The Ascendant LPGA. The late eagle from Lin, twice a runner-up on the LPGA Tour this season, took attention away from Atthaya Thitikul […]
18 hours ago
Davis Riley hits onto the 18th green during the first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship gol...
Associated Press

Riley with 66 shares lead at Sanderson Farms in home state

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Davis Riley got off to a hot start and kept bogeys off his card to the end for a 6-under 66 and a share of the lead Thursday with Will Gordon in the Sanderson Farms Championship, the PGA Tour event he considers his fifth major. Riley grew up about 90 miles […]
18 hours ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a two-run home run, his 61st homer of the season, next to Toront...
Associated Press

Aaron Judge’s 61st HR another murky milestone for MLB

Aaron Judge’s homers almost always impress, and No. 61 on Wednesday night was no exception — a laser-beam shot that landed in the Blue Jays bullpen amidst huge cheers from the crowd in Toronto. Baseball history was made and the joy was palpable. The New York Yankees slugger had just tied Roger Maris for the […]
18 hours ago
Philadelphia Phillies' Kyle Schwarber stands in the afternoon sun filtering into Wrigley Field duri...
Associated Press

Phillies lose 5th straight, Cubs sweep season series 6-0

CHICAGO (AP) — The Phillies lost their fifth straight game and dropped into a tie for the National League’s final wild card berth as the Chicago Cubs swept the season series from Philadelphia with a 2-0 victory on Thursday. Philadelphia was tied with Milwaukee at 83-72, pending the Brewers’ game against Miami later Thursday in […]
18 hours ago
Alex Bowman (48) drives during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Wort...
Associated Press

Bowman is 2nd driver to suffer concussion in Next Gen car

Alex Bowman will miss Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway with a concussion the Hendrick Motorsports driver apparently suffered last week at Texas. HMS said Bowman was evaluated Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina, and ruled out of this weekend’s playoff race. Noah Gragson will drive the No. 48 Chevrolet for Bowman. “I’m disappointed but know my […]
18 hours ago
Detroit Tigers' Javier Baez, right, celebrates his two-run home run with Riley Greene (31) in the f...
Associated Press

Castro, Báez homer, Tigers sweep Royals 10-3, escape cellar

DETROIT (AP) — Willi Castro and Javy Báez homered to lead Detroit over the Kansas City Royals 10-3 on Thursday for a three-game sweep that moved the Tigers out of last place in the AL Central. Detroit (63-92) has won six straight, matching its season high and ensuring the Tigers will not lose 100 games. […]
18 hours ago
BEIJING SNAPSHOT: Getting to China’s new national ski venue