Despite the fact that China’s ski resorts are still relatively unheard of among foreign tourists, the expat community living here, though, have long since discovered that China not only has some decent ski slopes, but that these resorts make for a great getaway spot or a weekend away.
1. Wanlong Ski Resort
The 2022 Beijing Winter Games will be split between three sites: one in Yanqing – a mountainous region to Beijing’s northwest, another in China’s sprawling capital itself, and a third in the city of Zhangjiakou, 125 miles from Beijing in Hebei province. Ski resorts have been operating in Zhangjiakou for decades.
Beijing 2022 will build on its existing snow-making capability to supplement natural snow fall. At this moment, the Wanlong ski resort features 22 trails, which are suited for skiers from the beginner- to advanced-levels. The excellent natural snow and the superb added snow from the resort’s imported snow-making system, make it the earliest resort to open its gates to the public in winter.
The 2,600 square meters assortment of amenities has been equipped with an advanced electronic charge system, and the 1,400 square meters restaurant provides soft lounge music as well as an amazing vista from its windows, making it an excellent place for people to take a break from the cold outside. A lot of professional ski teams from all over China, Japan and South Korea, have the resort as their training base.
Location: Located in Shennongjia National Forest Park, Hubei Province
2. Yabuli Ski Resort
Yabuli Ski Resort is, hands down, China’s biggest and best. The ski resort, built on Yabuli Sun Mountain, part of the Changbai Mountain Range, is located in China’s northernmost province, Heilongjiang, about 180 kilometers southeast of the province’s capital city, Harbin.
The northerly location of this ski resort ensures – at least under current climatic conditions, though once the planet’s unfolding climatic changes have run their course, that may change – that any snowfall tends to remain until late spring/ early summer (the temperature hovers near minus 10 degrees Celsius during the winter, but can dip down as low as a chilly minus 45 degrees!). And there is indeed ample snowfall in the region, with an average of 100 centimeters of snow annually near the top of the mountain, about half that amount midway down the mountain, and around 20 centimeters annually in the valley below.
Location: Heilongjiang Province in northeast China.
3. Beijing Nanshan Ski Resort
Nanshan Ski Resort is the largest of its kind in northern China, that is, it is also the largest ski resort specializing in snowboarding. The ski resort also distinguishes itself in offering more of everything for the Alpine skier, meaning that here one will find more slopes in all skill categories than anywhere else in China. Nanshan Ski Resort is also probably the Chinese ski resort when it comes to the availability of skiing and other snow-activity facilities for beginners.
Not surprisingly, given that the ski resort also has numerous beginner slopes, Nanshan Ski Resort’s 70-member staff of ski and snowboard instructors, many of whom are trained by Austrian coaches (the Nanshan International Snowboarding School is in fact led by an international snowboarding instructor from Austria), boasting one of the largest, if not the largest, staff of ski instructors in all of China.
Location: 62 kilometers away from Beijing
4. Beijing Huaibei Ski Resort
Established in 2000, Huaibei International Ski Resort is one of the earliest ski resorts in Beijing, and it is the only ski resort in Beijing which is registered with the word ‘international’ in its name. It is located in Jiugukou Natural Scenic Area, five kilometers north of Yanxi Lake, 18 kilometers north of Huirou District, and 67 kilometers away from Beijing urban area. It is usually open from December to the following March.
The climate there has typical features of a basin as the Beijing Huaibei International Ski Resort is surrounded by mountains, which keeps the high temperatures away. The air there is dry and cold, and the snow is made from surface water which always has a temperature of 0°-4°.
The unique Cold-Lake-Effect helps the ski resort make snow in the middle of November each year, and the quality of snow is perfect for skiing.
Location: 70 kilometers from downtown Beijing (about 1 hour’s ride) in the Jiugukou (Nine Valleys Pass) Natural Scenic Area.
5. Xiling Ski Resort
Xiling Snow Mountain Ski Resort – China’s largest (covering some 8 square kilometers) and most successful ski resort, and commonly referred to as ‘The Oriental Alps’ – is located in the heart of Sichuan Province, only about 100 kilometers west-southwest of the provincial capital of Chengdu. The ski resort’s proximity to a major transportation hub like Chengdu, makes it easily accessible to both domestic as well as foreign skiing enthusiasts.
Xiling Snow Mountain Ski Resort offers a number of outstanding pistes for all tastes and competency levels, contribute to Xiling Snow Mountain Ski Resort’s well-deserved reputation as China’s very best ski resort, as well as a highly popular summertime getaway for nature lovers, poets, etc…
Location: at the Xiling Snow Mountain 120 kilometers away from Chengdu in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
6. Alshan Ski Resort
Alshan Ski Resort is located in the small town of Alshan, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (Inner Mongolia, for short), near the mountainous border of (Outer) Mongolia, about a 3-4 hour trip by bus from Ulanhot, and about 700 kilometers (a 15-hour drive, a Hummer is recommended!), due west, from Yabuli Ski Resort in Heilongjiang Province.
Alshan Ski Resort is about more than just skiing, it is a venue for people to get together and have fun. There is a bar and a restaurant here, ample lodging facilities, and, of course, one can rent ski equipment at Alshan Ski Resort.
The area gets so much snow that snow-making machinery is not superfluous, nor does the ski resort make use of ski grooming equipment. The latter is only necessary where the snowfall is infrequent and comes in heavy doses; at Alshan Ski Resort, in contrast, the snowfall is almost daily, meaning that there is an almost constant supply of fresh powder, which beats anything that a machine can produce.
In December, Alshan Ski Resort holds its annual Ice & Snow Festival, which is celebrated at this time of year throughout the northern part of Inner Mongolia.
Location: On the border of Inner Mongolia in China and Mongolia itself, 3-4 hours by bus/train from Ulanhot.