The 2022 edition of the China Ski Industry White Book has been published – updating the statistics available on skiing in the country as of the end of the 21-22 season, which included the Olympic and Paralympic period in February this year.

China has seen a meteoric rise in the number of ski areas operating across the country from just a handful at the turn of the century to reaching over 700 in 2020.  This gives them currently the most ski areas in the world numerically – although many are small, simple centres with just one or two carpet lifts and a snowmaking machine.

The new China Ski Industry White Book, authored by long-time China ski industry expert Wu Bin,   states that 12 new ski areas opened in China last winter, half of them indoor ski resorts. Against this 35 previously open centres did not open, “due to the epidemic or other reasons,” meaning the total number of Chinese centres has dropped back below 700 and stood at 692 at the end of last winter.

Against this, the size and quality of China’s established resorts continued to improve with the Report noting the number of ski resorts with chairlifts or gondolas grew to 163.

The number of skier visits to Chinese resorts was also up by 3.76% to 21.54 million from 20.76 million the previous year. The report’s authors say that the pandemic had a severe dampening effect on the market. However, the number of regular skiers grew by 10.68% to 12.02 million from 10.86 million in the previous year.

The six new indoor snow centres takes the country’s total to 42, about a third of the world total and more than five times its nearest competitor’s total.

The global ski industry has looked to China as the main growth market over the past decade or so with most established ski nations having a ‘mature’ or slowly decreasing ski market. There is a lot of interest globally as to whether China’s ski market will continue to embed and expand in the nation with the strong push towards the 2022 Olympics now behind them.  The China Ski Industry White Book 21-22 stats appear to reflect the expected trend of consolidation predicted, with the pandemic probably dampening growth, as everywhere else, as well.