Swiss Alpine legend and course designer Bernhard Russi has hailed China’s newly completed National Alpine Ski Centre as a success, describing it as “one of the best racing mountains in the world” and promising a “very challenging course”.

The former Olympic and World Cup champion made the comments at the Sino-Swiss Business Awards ceremony in Beijing, where he also expressed confidence in preparations ahead of the centre’s first event early next year.

“Preparations are on schedule, and I haven’t seen any major problems.”

“Of course there’s a lot to do, like technical issues, including snow making and the gondolas. But these require special construction and I’m very positive. I think it will be very good.”

Russi assured the audience that the area’s lack of natural snow would not pose any problems.

“We are in the region where we do not have much snow, but for world-class ski racing, too much snow is not good,” Russi said. “If you have no snow at all, it’s much better because in the World Cup everywhere in the world, we have to produce man-made snow to have it [the course] concrete and packed.”

Beijing-Zhangjiakou high speed railway

A new high-speed railway between Beijing an Zhangjiakou will improve access to the Yanqing-based ski centre

The centre has been built to host all of the alpine skiing events at 2022 Winter Olympics, but will get its first major test in February next year when it hosts China’s debut FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup. Snow making began on November 15.

According to the FIS website, the centre will feature one of the steepest race courses in the world, with sections up to 68 degrees. A total of seven courses make up the resort, which has a vertical drop of around 900 metres.

The construction of a high-speed railway line between Beijing and Zhangjiakou will considerably shorten the travel time to the Yanqing-based centre.

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