In northern China, winters are long, cold and heavy on the snow. Experienced skiers often find themselves with plenty of room on the trail, since most visitors tend to be beginners. Whether you’re a seasoned carver or a fresh-faced newbie, here are a few of China’s best ski resorts:
China’s largest ski resort is more than 100 miles from Harbin, the city best known for its dazzling yearly ice and snow festival. Thanks to its location in China’s far northeast (an area that’s very, very cold), the mountaintops at Yabuli, which have drops ranging from 650 to 4,000 feet, see more than 3 feet of snow annually. There are 50 instructors on staff at Yabuli, and a good number of them speak decent English. The best accommodations at Yabuli are found at the Club Med outpost, which has plenty of activities for kids.
Whiz by the Great Wall as you ski down the mountains at Huaibei, a seven-trail resort outside of Beijing. Four of the trails here are for beginners, making it a great ski spot for younger kids. Snowmobiles and horse-drawn sleds are also available for rental.
Sitting less than an hour outside of Beijing, this resort is fun and accessible to expert snowboarders as well as novices, who can learn the slopes from Austrian-trained coaches. There’s a toboggan run and snowmobile trails, including a special one just for kids. It can get crowded here — there’s one quadruple lift, one double lift and rope tows for beginners — so try to visit at off-peak times.
Xiling Snow Mountain
After skiing at this Sichuan resort, warm up with the province’s legendary spicy dishes, like mapo doufu (tofu in chili sauce) and gong bao chicken (aka kung pao chicken, that beloved staple of North American Chinatowns). Xiling is located fewer than 90 minutes from Chengdu, where you can pal around with pandas before heading out to hit the slopes. There are seven trails here as well as snowmobile trails. If you pay Xiling a visit during the summer, you can grass ski, take a hot air balloon ride and tool around on ATVs.
Resting on the border of China proper and Inner Mongolia, this resort’s ski season is long — November to April. The non-pro ski area includes three beginner-level pistes. The big draw here in December is the resort’s annual Snow and Ice Festival, where you can snap photos of lit-up ice sculptures and snow people.
Photo Courtesy of Flickr- Ski China