The 19-member commission begins visiting sites for hockey, ice skating and other events in central Beijing on Tuesday before checking proposed skiing and sliding venues further outside the city.

Beijing is competing against Almaty, Kazakhstan, and is seeking to become the first city to host both the summer and winter games.

Chinese organizers say hosting the games would raise the profile of winter sports in the world's most populous nation.

Most of the proposed venues are left over from the 2008 Games, leading to significant cost savings in keeping with the IOC's Olympic Agenda 2020 goals for a more frugal, athlete- riented games whose legacy will live on with robust sports programs and continuing use of venues.

The International Olympic Committee will select the host city on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In all, Beijing plans to spend $3.9 billion on infrastructure and operations, a tiny fraction of the $51 billion spent by Russia on the 2014 Sochi Games.

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