We are still hearing about Chinese top athletes who will be good at winter sports before the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. However, it is not only top athletes who will be happy in sports - to Skeikampen there will also be a bunch of youngsters who want to experience real winter and skiing.

Pingyu Gu works daily with mother tongue education in Ringsaker. In addition, she has a great desire to spread sporting pleasure by letting Chinese children and young people experience true winter and winter sports. This may be because she herself is from an area northeast in China that resembles Lillehammer - with long winter, a lot of snow and mountains in the immediate vicinity.

A quiet environment that attracts the Chinese.

"I am very fond of both Gausdal and Lillehammer. I have been a lot at the Skeikampen with the kids, and I like the good atmosphere there. I think the tranquil and rural landscape will be attractive to big city Chinese people.

In order to let more people experience winter fun at Skeikampen, Pingyu Gu has created a company that offers children and young people a winter camp at Skeikampen - with the opportunity to learn how to ski and ake and other typical winter activities.

"We are working with Swix China and with the Beijing Federation of Fine Arts. They both have a desire to increase interest in winter sports and skiing in China. We contribute to this by letting young children and young people experience winter activities as used to in Norway, "says initiator Pingyu Gu.

For the participants in this winter camp, there is sporting pleasure and the joy of being out in the nature that is in focus. This can not be compared to the groups of joggers and cross-country runners who are already training in the Lillehammer district with a goal of performing well during the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. There are no medals that are the goal of the winter camp at Skei.

- The winter camp for this group is mostly about the joy of being outdoors and active in the winter landscape. We want them to learn first and foremost to cross-country skiing. I think it's a good idea to master cross country skiing and get a bit of skiing before trying out the alpine hill. There is also a little less risk associated with cross-country skiing, Pingyu believes.

Several winter sports

Based on Skei, it is natural that there is a great focus on outdoor activities. However, horseback riding such as curling and ice hockey is also popular in China, and Pingyu plans to let the visitors get a try curling. Ice hockey is a bit more complicated - both in terms of equipment and limited access to the halls.

Experiencing great enthusiasm

Pingyu experiences great enthusiasm and that many are positive when they hear about the plan to make a winter camp with Chinese youth who can experience Norwegian winter and ski at Skeikampen.

- At the World Winter Sports Expo in Beijing in September, I met Gerhard Heiberg. He has always been my model and it was very fun that he enjoyed the project when he heard about it. At a NHO conference in Gjøvik in June, I met Marit Bjørgen. She gave advice on spreading skiglede, pursuing broad sport and allowing children from China and Norway to build friendship by skiing together. It is very inspiring to get such feedback, says Pingyu.

Pingyu recently joined a business delegation to Beijing, and saw many children who have started their skiing on roller skates.

"All I'm talking about is keen to bring sports fun. This is not a project to create world champions, but I want Chinese youth to experience Norwegian winter as well. Most importantly, they are happy in winter sports. If someone later decided to bet this, then it's obviously fun, but it's not a main goal with the winter camp at Skei, says Pingyu.

Support from Innovation Norway

The project is supported by Innovation Norway. Both Innovation Norway and the Lillehammer region focus strongly on opportunities in the Chinese market, and for the region here is a lot related to sports, tourism and winter. As an Olympic region, Lillehammer is a natural partner for Beijing to host the Winter Olympics in 2022. With this as a backdrop, the Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Center is also involved as a partner in this partnership. The Legacy Center was created after the Youth Olympics in Lillehammer in 2016. The goal is, among other things, to contribute to the exchange of knowledge across cultures and borders, and at the same time be an international competence and training center for winter sports. The center is organized under the Norwegian Sports Association.

"Of course, I am very pleased with all support and everyone who will contribute to this project. I hope we can develop this to be a wonderful experience for the group of young people who come from China, and that through this we can use the nice surroundings at Skeikampen to create even more winter sports happiness, Pingyu Gu concludes.