BEIJING — Chinese tourism officials say that despite what the world thinks about China’s air quality and pollution levels, the soot in the air actually makes for better skiing.
“We call our special snow, enhanced carbon snow,” said Xi Huan Pang, assistant deputy to the deputy minister of the China National Tourism Administration. “You will not find enhanced carbon snow in America, in Aspen or Vail, or Swiss Alps. This is snow unique to the People’s Republic of China.”
Although the children of Chinese leaders and those of prominent scientists are forbidden to spend time on the snow, authorities say that has nothing to do with health concerns.
“And even if they did, what is the big deal about health concerns,” asked Pang. “We have good health in China. Very healthy people. We have good sport. We have good ski mountain.”
Skeptics however feel China is not being completely forthcoming.
“If you look closely at the picture of the mountain, it actually looks like it’s a pile of dirty snow that was plowed in a supermarket parking lot or something and was Photoshopped on top of a smog-covered landscape,” said Mark Sweeney of New Jersey. “I mean, seriously, if the fake picture makes the slopes look disgusting, I can’t imagine how terrible the real slopes must look.”
Pang said he would not comment specifically on the photo provided by the Chinese government, except to say that “nothing done in China is fake.”