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BRITISH SKI SCHOOL OPENS IN CHINA - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Monday November 28, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The Warren Smith Ski Academy has become the first British school to have a permanent base in the country. It opened for business in the resort of Wanlong on Tuesday.

The PlanetSKI partner has its own office there and will have one or two instructors on site at any one time throughout the season.

Warren Smith is in China for the official opening and will run the first 3-day course, which is for local instructors and industry people. 

"We're really excited. The idea of trading and working in China is a huge thing for a British-origin ski school," Warren told PlanetSKI.

"We are honoured we have been invited to go out and do it and that they have put their trust in us."

The move is the culmination of a relationship that's been nurtured over several years since Warren's first visit to the country in 2013.

He has been there 3 times to run clinics on snow and at an indoor ski centre at Qiabo.

Warren Smith & clients, Wanlong, China 2015 Wanlong, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Smith at indoor snowdome, Qiabo, China, July 2013 Qiabo Snowdome, July 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Smith with clients, Beidahu, China, February 2013 Beidahu, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participation in skiing has been growing dramatically in China in recent years, particularly since Beijing was awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics, as we reported in this article from July. 

The Chinese government has just announced plans to develop another 240 ski slopes to boost its medal prospects at the Games, according to insidethegames.

But there are still very few well-qualified Chinese ski instructors, so the rapid expansion in the market provides huge opportunities for foreign teachers to fill the gap.

The Academy's clinics in Wanlong are already fully booked until Christmas. 

"It's like a gold rush," Warren told us.  "There is ample work.  They're looking for professionals and people they trust to come over and help."

Warren's involvement in China began after a chance encounter with a Chinese couple booked onto one of his courses in Verbier in Switzerland.

The couple spoke hardly any English but brought along a copy of Warren's book, GO SKI.

"The book was in Mandarin," Warren said. 

"I didn't know it had been translated into Chinese.  I rang the publisher and found it had sold 100,000 copies in China."

Warren was invited out in February 2013 for a book and poster signing and lecture tour.  On the same trip he was asked to act as head judge at the Chinese Mogul Championships in Nanshan.

Warren Smith, Beidahu, China Feb 2013Autograph time, Beidahu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Smith presents medals at Chinese Mogul Champs, Nanshan Feb 2013Chinese Mogul Championships, Nanshan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Warren Smith Ski Academy's new Chinese base is in one of the country's biggest ski resorts.

Wanlong is 250km from Beijing in the county of Chongli, which will stage many of the skiing and snowboarding events at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Wanlong Ski resort, ChinaWanlong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Academy will rotate its instructors, each of them working in China for stints of around 4 weeks.

"Our guys going out are trying to learn some basic Mandarin phrases, but we'll have interpreters and a lot of clients will speak English," Warren said.

"Our video analysis might double in length because of the time it will take to explain things.  It will have to be super slow."

One of Warren's key aims is to encourage more Chinese skiers to visit the Alps, and to book onto his courses in Verbier and Cervinia. He says most Chinese who travel abroad to ski go to the USA.

He's also doing his bit to train up Chinese nationals to be instructors.

This winter a small group will travel to Warren's main alpine base of Verbier for a 9-week course, aiming to pass IASI (Irish Association of Snowsports Instructors) Levels 1 and 2.

"They will go home at a very high level for China," he told us.

Warren Smith Ski Academy logoWarren Smith - now available in China

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


For more information about the Warren Smith Ski Academy's courses in Italy, Switzerland, Japan and the UK, click here.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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