Beijing to hold 2020 Winter Olympics first test event in February

China’s capital Beijing will hold its first test event for the 2022 Winter Olympics in February, when it hosts an Alpine Skiing World Cup event, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday.

A total of 111 athletes from 19 countries and regions have already registered to compete in the Feb. 15-16 event in Yanqing to the north of Beijing, Xinhua said.

It will feature two disciplines – men’s downhill and men’s super G.

Yanqing is one of the three competition zones for the 2022 Games, and will host Alpine Skiing, Bobsleigh and Luge.

Beijing and the nearby city of Zhangjiakou won the right to host the Games in 2015. The only other city bidding was Almaty in Kazakhstan, after other competitors dropped out, citing costs and other worries.

While Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games to wide acclaim, its bid for the Winter Games was dogged by concern over numerous issues, such as corruption, the city’s notorious but now improving smog, a lack of snow and China’s poor human rights record.

Skiing venues around Beijing generally have to rely on man-made snow.