There’s snow business like urban indoor skiing – SHINE

Ten years ago German Henrik Stefes was an international student majoring in business management at Fudan University in Shanghai.

He put his education to good use in 2018 by co-founding and serving as the director of SNOW 51, an indoor skiing and training facility in China.

Bremen-born Stefes began skiing for the first time when he was 4 years old. He earned his ski instructor’s license when he was 17.

Stefes returned to China in 2015 and first worked as a ski instructor. He joined SNOW 51 after meeting its founder during a winter sport exhibition in Beijing, assisting a former coach and directing the coaching department with 200 Chinese and international ski instructors.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Henrik Stefes is the Ski Experience Center director and co-founder of SNOW 51.

Ice and snow sports are no longer a seasonal thing in China. Many shopping malls have indoor rinks.

The number of participants engaged in winter sports was more than 600,000 in Shanghai in 2017, and it has grown exponentially, reaching 2.8 million in 2021, according to Shanghai Ice & Snow Sports Association.

The city has 14 rinks, 43 indoor ski resorts and three curling venues.

“The growth rate of indoor ski simulators in Shanghai tops the list in China,” Yan Jiadong, director of the association, told Xinmin Evening News.

“It is inextricably linked to people’s needs. Winter sports are the most popular among Shanghai residents, ranking second among all sports. It demonstrates the market’s enormous potential,” Yan said.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Henrik Stefes talks with child students at SNOW 51.

Stefes was surprised to see a large indoor rink on the third floor of the MIXC City in Minhang District, where the first SNOW 51 outlet opened in January 2018.

“It may have been regarded as ‘crazy’ by some Europeans,” he told Shanghai Daily. “Skating is a traditional outdoor sport from their point of view.”

Now, SNOW 51 has more than 20 branches around China with 18 stores in Shanghai alone.

“If you are passionate about something, you want to do it every day,” Stefes said. “We provide opportunities for southern people to ski every day and let them discover the charm of skiing.”

Après-ski activities are an after-skiing culture that is popular in Europe.

“In China, people prefer hot pots and barbecues at outdoor ski resorts,” he said.

Currently, the nearest outdoor ski resort from Shanghai is in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, but a spectacular indoor venue is set to open in Lingang on the coast of Shanghai’s Pudong New Area this year. It will be the world’s largest integrated indoor ski resort at 90,000 square meters.

Ti Gong

Henrik Stefes enjoys a light moment with his student William in Soelden, Austria.

Stefes has found that the pace of life in big Chinese cities is fast. Parents can only spend a little time with their children. It’s also hard for them to find common interests, but he believes skiing is a good choice.

Half of SNOW 51’s customers are families, and about 25 percent are children between the ages of 6 and 10. They get ski fans ranging from 2.5 years old to 72 years of age.

“The entry barriers of skiing are low,” he said. “Around 70 to 80 percent of customers try skiing for the first time in our stores. Our busiest time is during summer vacation.”

There have been some impressive success stories.

William started skiing when he was just over 4 …….

Source: https://www.shine.cn/news/in-focus/2201251153/

Ten years ago German Henrik Stefes was an international student majoring in business management at Fudan University in Shanghai.

He put his education to good use in 2018 by co-founding and serving as the director of SNOW 51, an indoor skiing and training facility in China.

Bremen-born Stefes began skiing for the first time when he was 4 years old. He earned his ski instructor’s license when he was 17.

Stefes returned to China in 2015 and first worked as a ski instructor. He joined SNOW 51 after meeting its founder during a winter sport exhibition in Beijing, assisting a former coach and directing the c…….

Ten years ago German Henrik Stefes was an international student majoring in business management at Fudan University in Shanghai.

He put his education to good use in 2018 by co-founding and serving as the director of SNOW 51, an indoor skiing and training facility in China.

Bremen-born Stefes began skiing for the first time when he was 4 years old. He earned his ski instructor’s license when he was 17.

Stefes returned to China in 2015 and first worked as a ski instructor. He joined SNOW 51 after meeting its founder during a winter sport exhibition in Beijing, assisting a former coach and directing the c…….

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