HARBIN, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- What do Chinese people do during the Spring Festival holiday besides visiting relatives and friends? For the first winter after the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, a popular activity is ice and snow sports.
Harbin, the capital city of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, has a cold winter climate and a deep history of ice and snow sports.
During the Spring Festival holiday, there are always many cars parked on the snowy slopes of the roads in Harbin. People carry snow rings and can enjoy the whole day on the snowy slopes.
"I bought a snow ring last year. I come to play with my children during the Spring Festival holiday. There are also places to rent snow rings nearby," said Zhang Shuobin, a Harbin resident.
For those who aren't keen on snow, skating is a suitable alternative. Whether it is the Songhua River that runs through Harbin, or the frozen lakes in the parks, it can become a paradise for ice skating lovers. In Harbin's Daixiu Lake Park, the frozen lake is designed to look like a rainbow as people glide along colorful slides.
On the frozen Daixiu Lake, there are also several skating coaches training their students, and some children are playing with traditional ice spinning tops.
In Harbin, there is no need to enter well-equipped stadiums to play ice hockey during the winter holiday. Hockey enthusiasts have set up small fields with homemade goals where six people can split into two teams on frozen rivers.
"Before the Spring Festival, my friends and I agreed to play ice hockey during the Spring Festival. The weather is very cold these days, but it can't stop us," said ice hockey fan Sun Tianfu.
In the first winter after the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, enthusiasm for ice and snow sports not only lit up the streets of Harbin, but also lit up the local tourism market.
The 500-meter-long slide at Harbin Ice and Snow World is very popular this winter, where there are long queues almost every day. The ice sports park built on the frozen Songhua River has become an unmissable attraction for tourists.
Standing on the banks of the Songhua River, you can see all kinds of snow and ice recreational facilities, including snowmobiles, snowbikes, curling.
"The Beijing Winter Olympic Games has aroused people's enthusiasm for ice and snow sports, and the enthusiasm for these activities during the Spring Festival has not waned," said He Li, director of development and operation of Harbin Songhuajiang Ice and Snow Carnival.
Yabuli ski resort has attracted skiers from all over the country this Spring Festival. "During the Spring Festival holiday, I wanted to go skiing in the mountains, so I came to Yabuli," said Qi Siteng from south China's Guangdong Province, who spent three days of his seven-day Spring Festival holiday in Yabuli.
On the eve of the Spring Festival, a number of youth ice and snow sports competitions were held in Harbin, including the National Youth Ice Hockey Invitational Tournament, Ice and Snow Games for primary and middle school students and some snow football games.
"The Beijing Winter Olympic Games has not only promoted the development of competitive sports in China, but also aroused the enthusiasm of the Chinese people for ice and snow sports," said Qian Fuyong, director of the sports bureau of Heilongjiang Province. ■