Would You Ski in China?

Jesse Cassidy |
Yabuli Ski Resort, Heilongjiang Province
Yabuli Ski Resort, Heilongjiang Province

Lets ask the question: “would you ski China?” While not known for its terrain, or its snow, and overshadowed by the amazing skiing in Japan, why would you even consider taking a ski trip to China? The same reason you would go to Iran, or Antarctica to ski – for the adventure.

Yuyang ski resort, Beijing, China
Yuyang ski resort, Beijing, China

China, a country of 1.3 billion people, has over the past twenty years begun to open up to Westerners seeking to explore new cultures, and landscapes. And with a ski industry that has seen impressive growth in the last ten years with the privatization of industry and increased personal wealth, there is no better time to see what skiing in China is all about.

Kinda resembles the early season "white strip of death"
Kinda resembles the early season “white strip of death”

In 1976 after the death of Mao Zedong, the highest currency note in China was a 10¥ or equivalent to 1.20 USD at the time. Today twenty-year-olds drive Lamborghinis and private markets flourish in once strongly communist China. With this increased economic growth, thrusting China to the second largest economy in the world, leisure activities have taken center stage in the countries flourishing economy. The ski industry in recent years has been booming with over five million skiers in 2010 and well over 200 ski areas. China has also been doing well in the Olympics in recent years in the freestyle skiing aerials event becoming top metal contenders.

Xiling Ski Resort, China

At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Han Xiaopeng won the men’s freestyle skiing aerials – China’s first Olympic gold in snow sports. Chinese athletes count among the top medal contenders in aerial events at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Risa Wyatt

Top 5 China Ski Resorts Map
Top 5 China Ski Resorts Map.  chinahighlights.com

However with all this growth in skiing, there is also much risk. An estimated 80% of skiers will never ski again as a result of a bad experience their first time. And many ski resorts are in snow starved areas that only have few runs with man-made snow. However with an ever increasing level of personal wealth, and a population of 1.3 Billion, there is the strong possibility that the ski industry in China has yet to reach its peak.

China is a country with a long and interesting history, an amazing culture, and gorgeous countryside. And while the skiing may be less than desirable, it would be a ski trip for the experiences rather than the skiing. Yabuli Ski Resort in the Heilongjiang Province, is one of the larger ski areas in the country with over ten runs and a vertical rise of about 800 meters.

china ski population

While most of China’s ski areas resemble those of the East Coast of the United States, it would be an interesting opportunity for new experiences with skiing. So it begs the question, would you shred pow with Mao?

Location of planned mega resort called Ping Tian Resort
Location of planned mega resort in Northwest China called Ping Tian Resort
Backcountry potential in china has no end.  photo:  miles clark, Yunnan provence.
Backcountry potential in china has no end. photo: miles clark, Yunnan provence.


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9 thoughts on “Would You Ski in China?

  1. Dear sirs

    We are a Norwegian who want help to find houses for HAALBO SKIING, We want to build a ski-chain in China. We do not know China so much.

    With best regards from

    Arild Michael Lande
    2212 Kongsvinger

  2. Much like the roads, the big problem isn’t so much the facilities, but the other skiers. People are wiping out all over and skiing completely erratically when they aren’t eating snow. Last time I went I got pinged twice by two idiots who skied right into me (they couldn’t even turn and were on an advanced run). Add interminable lines and you have the makings of a terrible day on the slopes.

  3. Nice summary. I have skied at Nanshan, Walong, Yabuli, Beidahu, Silk Road (in Xinjiang Province) Xiling and Changbaishan. Chaingbaishan has the best natural terrain – big mountain and deep snow. Beidahu has the most ski culture in China, decent snow and great tree skiing potential if they could thin out the woods a bit. Reminds me of Northen VT.

  4. Why would i go to china to ski when i can get the same experience at Rose on a holiday weekend?

  5. I would ski china, but might not plan my next ski trip there. Entertaining none the less. the Keep it up Miles…. This sight is quickly becoming my favorite way to kill a few minutes. Thanks!!

  6. I’d no idea there even was skiing in eastern china. Looks not that good, but a cool experience.

  7. This would be a very cool thing to do. To ski in China. China is such a head trip, this would likely be the biggest freak out of all. I recommend skiing in china, even though i’ve never done it.

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