In the 1980’s Rosie Kelly found herself braving the red tape, searing scrutiny and strict oversight of Chinese officials in order to lead bicycle tours in a country only recently open to the west. Mistaken for a Christian missionary, her luggage was searched for contraband Bibles and her tour groups for Playboy and other such evidence of western degenerate behavior. Although she led teen bike tours since the early seventies, she had little experience dealing with strong willed adults. She was equally ill-prepared to negotiate the group’s interests with their Chinese guides and interpreters that had a different agenda. Her group was there to ride bikes through the countryside; the Chinese guides wanted to put them on tour busses and ship them from factory shop to factory shop. She learned quickly how to keep the peace.
Thirty years later, and twice as old as she was on her first adventure there, Kelly finds herself in China once more: this time to experience the ski slopes of China, solo. With limited command of the language, she set out resisting the pleas of friends and family to just join a ski club tour of western North American slopes. Instead, she stayed true to her dream, calming those left behind with promises of detailed daily itineraries. What follows is an up and down adventure that, in the course of one day, finds the writer wondering what on earth she’s gotten herself into and delighting in the day-to-day victories in struggles ranging from language barriers, transportation nightmares and culinary disbelief.
With a few hundred resorts to choose from (many with just a rope tow or two), she selects four resorts to visit: Yabuli, Genting Secret Garden, Wanlong and Huaibei. Kelly provides a delightful account of her experiences and a wealth of information for those who may wish to follow her lead.
Enjoy her brushes with disaster, her humorous scenarios with incorrect Mandarin inflections leading to strange interpretations and her obvious delight in living life to the fullest in this latest adventure. Her unique circumstances thrust her into varying degrees of the spotlight, and she is welcomed into a world that few ski/snowboard bums get to experience. Upon arrival at Genting Secret Garden resort, she witnesses an important meeting regarding China’s 2022 Winter Olympic bid. She is caught off-guard as she is randomly chosen and ill-prepared for an interview by Beijing media (in Mandarin, of course).
Snowboarding China is a fascinating account of one woman’s adventure with real insight into the changing landscape of what once was a country pining for electricity and TV. She now finds herself riding state-of-the-art heated gondolas and bubble chairlifts. Even those who have never been on a pair of skis or a board, will delight in the intimate style of storytelling and may find her advice and expertise motivation to embark on adventures of their own. In addition to her story, she also includes a list of her daily expenses, packing list and useful websites. A must read!
Her first book is entitled Snowboarding Is For Adults. It is a step by step guide for those interested in getting off the couch and on to a snowboard. It’s certainly inspirational!