As the clock ticks down ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, more and more foreigners specializing in winter sports are finding employment opportunities in China.
Keith Dorin, a Canadian over 60, is one of them. He is an ice-maker for curling. This is a highly technical and specialized skill.
In order to maintain the curling sheet in competition criteria for the 2017-2018 Chinese National Curling Championship in Xining, capital city of Qinghai province, Dorin had to skip his Christmas holiday but is devoted to his task. He needs to level the sheet with equipment before and after each game.
Dorin came to China for the first time last year, and secured a job here helping to make several ice fields for different events in China. He is also working to train local ice-making talent. He believes that these young ice-makers-to-be will have great prospects, especially with winter sports surging in China.
"Only a high-quality sheet can guarantee players fully apply their skills," said Dorin.
Hans Wuthrich, another Canadian ice-maker working in China, believes that curling has huge potential to grow here.
"Frankly, the price of a curling stone is expensive," Wuthrich said. "But it can be used for decades, even longer than your lifespan. So it can be easily promoted among many Chinese."
Wuthrich believes that curling is a sport for the masses, rather than only for the privileged. "You see, more than 1.2 million people are regularly playing curling among the over 30 million population in Canada. How could this be a privileged sport?"
It costs only 160 Canadian dollars (130 US dollars) a year on average for each amateur player in Wuthrich's hometown Winnipeg.
"With 160 Canadian dollars being paid, you can play 2 or 3 times a week, from October to the next April. It is quite cheap," said Wuthrich.
"I can see a huge potential of curling promotion in China, and I think it will be an affordable and popular sport in here soon. And also, more foreigners specialized in curling or other winter sports will find their jobs here in the future."