PYONGYANG, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) - The Masikryong ski resort in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been festive these days, thanks in large part to the Olympics underway to the south.
The energetic mood has lasted weeks here, warming skiers and tourists amid wintry, mountain winds. The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea has made the resort better known to the world.
The PyeongChang games have been defined as the peace Olympics, and the joint ski training between athletes of the two Koreas from Jan.31 to Feb.1 has brought the best ski region in the DPRK into the spotlight for symbolizing a detente on the Peninsula.
The Olympic games and the joint training at the ski resort, less than 100 km away from South Korea, are considered a demonstration of national solidarity for all Koreans.
Whether its beginners or the experienced embarking on breath-taking runs at Masikryong, hundreds of people of all ages are taking to the slopes. Only a small number of visitors are foreigners as a result of the ongoing international sanctions imposed against Pyongyang's nuclear programs.
Pyongyang has planned that the 30,000-square meters ski resort with well-equipped tourism facilities including hotel, restaurant, swimming pool and skating rink will be able to attract 5,000 visitors a day and earn 44 million U.S. dollars a year.
Completed by the end of 2013, the Masikryong ski resort boasts nine main runs and two slopes and is considered one of the best of its kind in Asia thanks to its natural conditions.
The ski resort project cost an estimated 30 million U.S. dollars and had been put under the personal guidance of the DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un, who reportedly visited the site 144 times during its half-year construction.
The participation of DPRK athletes each time at PyeongChang has been hailed and celebrated here since the Olympics opened on Feb. 9. Whether or not the current inter-Korean rapprochement can extend beyond the winter Olympics is beyond the concern of the average visitor.
Celebrations here of the PyeongChang games had partly overlapped with the official holidays on Feb. 16-18 to mark the Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. Kim, a 25-year-old tourist guide who didn't give his first name, told a group of Chinese visitors that the ski resort became very crowded during the Lunar New Year.
What's more, the Chinese Spring Festival that fell on Feb. 16 this year coincided with the birthday of former top DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, who was praised by two South Korean presidents for his calls for reconciliation and national reunification in the early 2000s.
These delightful coincidences have contributed to the high, festive mood at the ski resort.