A press conference was held at the Swedish Embassy on Monday Dec 15 to inform about Tour de Ski Shangri-la stage. Present was the Swedish ambassador to China Mr Mikael Lindström, the Vice Governor of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Mr Li Xuelin, Shangri-la County Mayor Mr Xiao Xu, Chief of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Sports Bureau Mr Song Tao, Nordic Ways Founder and Honorary President Mr Gavert Waag and Secretary of the Chinese Ski Association Mr Gao Xuedong, members of the press and other guests.
The conference started with representatives from Shangri-la giving everyone a “Hada” – a traditional white shawl.
Shangri-la County Mayor spoke first about Shangri-la, where stage 5 of Tour de Ski China is taking place, a place of harmony between people and nature, where 43% of the population are Tibetans. Mr Xiao said that Shangri-la has invested a lot in infrastructure and tourism in the recent years. Apart from the new airport that is being built, the ski arena where the competition is held is also a brand new facility which has been built with a 200 million investment from the county government。The Shangri-la Ski Arena with surroundings is 40 km2 and has 12 cross country ski tracks. Mr Xiao also expressed his thanks to Nordic ways for its support to the county.
Next to speak was Mr Lindstrom, the Swedish ambassador. He was happy to offer the embassy as the place for the press conference as Sweden and China has had strong ties of friendship ever since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China. First he congratulated China for “setting a new standard for Olympics” and then said that he is pleased to see the progresses being made by organizations like Nordic Ways to promote the Swedish model of participatory sports and its benefits like health, ethics, fair play etc. Mr Lindstrom was especially glad to see the Chinese becoming more and more interested in skiing since it is a very popular winter sport in Sweden.
After that, Mr Li gave a beautiful photo book on Shangri-la to the ambassador.
The press conference continued with some questions from journalist from China Sports Daily, China Daily etc. Mr Waag said that early saw the possibilities for organizing winter sports in Shangri-la, because although located in the south of China, the altitude is very high and it is cold in the winter. Combined with its epic name well known throughout the western world, it also has great potential for sports tourism, a tourism which has already grown from the first Tour de Ski China stage in Shangri-la in 2008.
Tour de Ski will see 80 Top European Cross Country skiers and the 30 best Chinese skiers competing during 9 days this winter. The final stage in Shangri-la will take place on Jan 5-6