Some call the $450-million ‘Bird’s Nest’, built for the Olympics, a white elephant. Over the winter, management hoped to generate revenue with a snow park, but attendance has been sparse.
### latimes.com February 15, 2010
Beijing’s National Stadium is on thin ice
By Lily Kuo – Beijing
Beijing is hosting its own version of the Winter Olympics. Inside the architectural wonder of the capital’s National Stadium, children on rubber doughnuts race on the snow. Teenagers and adults slide slowly down a low ski slope. In the background, a band plays ’90s Chinese rock on a stage flanked by fake snow peaks.
The snow park is the latest effort to create a new life for the stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest.
The “Happy Snow and Ice Season” will run all winter at the stadium where Chinese directors staged a stunning opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set world records. Now slushy mounds of machine-made snow and a single ski slope occupy the grounds.
The Bird’s Nest is expensive. Tickets to the snow park are $26. Then visitors use a swipe card to rack up charges for rentals, games and food. They pay at the end.
“I don’t know how much we’ve paid today. It could be as much as my month’s salary,” said Ma Tianjun.
Ma, who drove an hour to get to the park, said he realised too late how expensive it would be. “Once you board the thieves’ ship, you can only go forward,” he said, using an old Beijing saying.
1.3.09 But, real stadium architecture… + Bird’s Nest Video (1of5)
2.3.09 Bird’s Nest videos continued
Post by Elizabeth Kerr