Shunyi stages its first winter carnival

Visitors to Beijing's Shunyi can enjoy nearly 100 winter activities during the district's first "snow-and-ice" carnival.

The ongoing celebration will include more than just the usual suspects among fun activities associated with the coldest months. It will integrate industry, agriculture, commerce, culture, sightseeing and sports.

Visits are expected to peak around the upcoming festivals of New Year, Spring Festival and Chinese Valentine's Day, says Shen Zhihong, head of the district's tourism authority.

Two- and three-day itineraries have been developed.

Most feature skiing-both indoors and outdoors.

The Lianhuashan Ski Resort features natural landscapes and tracks for various skill levels. It will stage races on Jan 10 and 30.

The resort is using the carnival to pitch the natural food it grows and serves in its 12,000-square-meter restaurant.

Nearby Qiaobo Snow and Ice World hosts indoor ski facilities year-round.

It also features a children's playground fashioned from snow.

Visitors who book through Qiaobo's official WeChat account or website can enjoy 40 percent off ticket prices.

The Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park offers not only skiing but also rides on sleighs, ice-wagons and cross-country snowmobiles.

Chilly carnival visitors can thaw out in the hot springs that trickle throughout the district. Several establishments are offering deals during the celebration.

Indeed, the carnival has also conjured some less-common winter activities, such as industrial tourism. The factories of Beijing Yanjing Brewery and Hyundai Motor enable industrial tourists to witness firsthand the processes by which beer is brewed and cars are made.

Shunyi also hosts one of the country's few butterfly theme parks. Guests can dash through clouds of colored wings, watch the insects feast on flowers and learn about their biology. (This spot may hold extra appeal to people who are missing spring.)

The district is also home to an Italian-style farm and a large red-wine cellar.

The carnival, sponsored by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development and Shunyi's government, opened on Dec 19 and runs through February.

Travelers can learn more and make online bookings through the Shunyi tourism department's official WeChat and micro blog accounts.

Then they can discover what makes the cold cool in Shunyi.