Beijing residents enjoy winter fun on historical, scenic Houhai Lake

World Today

Beijing residents enjoy winter fun on Houhai Lake. (Xinhua)

Ice skating on the famous Houhai Lake has been a popular winter activity in Beijing. As China bids for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, skaters young and old have returned to the ice. CCTV’s Jin Ying-qiao reported this story from Beijing.

Houhai Lake in the center of Beijing is an ancient historical spot famous for its bars and restaurants throughout the year. During the winter, it transforms into a traditional ice skating wonderland.

Beijing residents enjoy winter fun on historical, scenic Houhai Lake

Ice skating on the famous Houhai Lake has been a popular winter activity in Beijing. As China bids for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, skaters young and old have returned to the ice. CCTV's Jin Ying-qiao reported this story from Beijing.

Li Feng who is over 70 years old said ice skating at Houhai has been a must for him every winter since he was a kid.

“Like sugar-coated hawthorns, and big bowls of tea, this is a tradition for old Beijingers,” Feng said. “Beijing used to to very cold. We could skate on it for two months. But now only about one month.”

As the race to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games narrows, more activities are being introduced including: ice football and dragon boat racing on ice.

This passion and interest in ice and snow has also bred its own kind of craftsman.

“The King of Blades” shop is where three generations of the Wang family have specialized in sharpening skate blades while earning rewards on and off the ice.

“My father sharpened ice blades,” Wang Peizhi of King of Blades said. “He sharpened them until we could buy our home’s first fridge. We were the first in our neighborhood to buy a fridge and a TV set, all because of my father’s work.”

Though the shop tailors its services to the different needs of every customer, even in the modern age, it has held firm to its own traditions.

“Most of our customers are long time customers. You can’t raise the price to whatever you want,” Wang Jianzhi of King of Blades said. “This kind of sharpening costs ten kuai. Five years ago it was ten kuai. It always stays this price.”

They are just one of the many Beijingers continuing an age-old tradition of celebrating the ice and snow.