BEIJING — Beijing is driving home assurances that providing plenty of good quality snow for the skiing events won't be a problem if it wins the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
With a little more than a month left before the games are awarded, the bid committee on Tuesday assembled a panel of ski industry experts to talk up the conditions in the winter sports center at Chongli where cross country, freestyle and other skiing events would be held.
Beijing's competitor for the games, the Kazakh city of Almaty, has presented itself as the candidate that offers true winter conditions with plenty of natural snow.
While China's bid relies heavily on man-made snow, veteran resort designer Wei Qinghua said the area's cold, dry winters are well suited to grooming and maintaining world-class slopes.
"There's absolutely no problem with the water supply for snow making," said Wei, who has worked on two of Chongli's biggest resorts, Genting and Wanlong, that would host Olympic events.
The deputy general manager of the Genting resort, Song Zhiyong, said Chongli's long skiing season and unique microclimate more than made up for a lack of heavy powder. Recent years have seen it attract members of the Japanese and South Korean national ski teams who used to travel all the way to Europe to train, Song said.
Man-made snow is now standard in competition to ensure firm, smooth slopes, although images of barren fields and hills surrounding the outdoor venues in China may lack appeal for broadcasters.
Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Olympics, is seeking to become the first city to host both summer and winter games. The IOC will select the host city on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Beijing had been considered the front runner, but that status was dented earlier this month during presentations to the IOC in which Almaty hammered home the message that it is a winter sports city with plenty of mountains and natural snow.
While Chongli gets up to 1 meter (3 feet) of snow each winter, Beijing's reliance on man-made snow is seen by some as a drawback. Other concerns include China's lack a lengthy winter sports tradition and the long distances between the indoor events in Beijing and the outdoor events in the mountains to the northwest.
Beijing plans to build a high-speed rail link between Beijing and the mountain venues and says holding the games will help promote winter sports among the 300 million Chinese who live in the country's north.
Spokeswoman Wang Hui said bid officials were "highly confident" as they fine-tuned their final presentation for Kuala Lumpur, including adding what she described as "new content."
"We're working on summing up the whole package and answering the question, why Beijing?" she said.