Tourists have a good time as lights for the 13th Harbin Ice and Snow World in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, are tested on Dec 26. The festival will officially open on Jan 5. Liu Yang / for China Daily
Winter has turned parts of the country into a wonderland of excitement, where a host of snow festivals are providing locals and tourists unforgettable moments of invigorating fun. Top among the many vibrant events is the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival that will be officially launched on Jan 5 in Heilongjiang province - when temperatures can plummet to -38C - with numerous heart-warming experiences available to visitors.
Stunning ice sculptures light up Harbin Ice and Snow World, a highlight of the festival. Of the 45 works in ice and snow depicting iconic buildings, landscapes and figures along a 1,400-meter-long stretch, one recreates Marilyn Monroe's well-known pose in The Seven Year Itch: standing on a subway grate while her white dress is blown above her knees.
If you are looking for a tour replete with unique ethnic flavors, the "Nadam" Winter Fair underway in Ewenki Autonomous Banner of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region will fit the bill. Dance and sing with locals dressed in Ewenki attire or join them in the scores of traditional winter sports such as horse and camel racing across snowfields.
Though snow hasn't come as heavily as people anticipated in Beijing, winter sports enthusiasts can still enjoy themselves at the ongoing "Happy Snow and Ice Season" gala thanks to the wonders of artificial snowmaking.
The National Stadium, home to the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games 2008, has been remade into a fairyland of white. Snow sculptures, mini ski slopes and skating rinks in the arena give visitors a different experience of the Bird's Nest. A 20-meter-high snow-covered mountain serves as the backdrop for a stage welcoming interactive shows twice a day and rock concerts during Spring Festival.
But the excitement is not the monopoly of Northern China. Window of the World, a famous tourist site in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, has opened its own ice and snow carnival, a month-long fete that fascinates people in Southern China with a 2,400-square-meter skating rink and a 4,000-square-meter "ski resort". Its non-stop celebrations also include a grand parade of popular cartoon characters and New Year party.