If you were going to make a journey over to Asia to ski, it is probable that you would normally think of the powder havens in Japan, but don’t rule out China just yet! With Beijing set to host the Winter Olympics in 2022, I imagine the country’s ski resorts won’t be so foreign to us in the near future.
The ski season runs from November until the end of March, thus a little earlier and longer than in the Alps. Back in 1996 there were only 11 ski resorts, and by 2015 that number shot up to a mighty 568, with a grand total of 322 kilometres of pistes. The ski resorts are rather small in size, Changbaishan is one of the largest and has just 9 ski lifts, with 40 kilometres of slopes. What it lacks for in terrain, the resort makes up for in infrastructure. Recently, a freeride team that includes Xavier De Le Rue and Sam Anthamatten, were filmed shredding and exploring the terrain around Changbaishan volcano, the so-called ‘Ever White Mountain’ found close to the border between China and North Korea.
Chinese tourism are trying to lure both Chinese and foreigners to these alpine resorts, because of which, many of these resorts have a real touch of luxury, perfect for those who want to cool down after an exerting day or those who just want to relax and enjoy some fine dining. The village of Changbaishan attempts to mimic a Swiss resort and now boasts shops, restaurants and high-end hotels, the Park Hyatt in particular.
Changbaishan ski resort
Changbaishan is recommended for beginners and intermediates, while the resort of Beidahu is better suited to more advanced skiers, with more recently pistes being created for intermediate skiers. Yabuli, another popular destination, is considered by many to have the best skiing in China – found in the Heilongjiang Province in the northeast of China, the resort has 18 ski lifts, a cable car, 22 snow canons as well as a snow park. The resort is perfect for intermediates with 5 black runs, 11 blue and 2 greens. There is also now a Club Med which means that organising an all-inclusive ski trip is all the more easier, otherwise getting to Yabuli and finding accommodation can be quite tricky!
In addition to skiing, you can combine your trip to China with a trip back in time to the historical Forbidden City in Beijing, watch the neon lights light up the modern futuristic Shanghai and go and see the humongous pandas for your own eyes! China is a large country that is so diverse, it really is worthwhile spending some time here to delve into some of the great sights and cultures the country has to offer.