There are over 200 rope tows and small hills scattered all over China with varying levels of services and accommodations. There are even some indoor ski areas. We chose to focus only on the top ten ski resorts that approach Western standards of skiing in terms of conditions and services. Although it is not worth detailing these smaller ski resorts individually it is important to mention that these mom and pop operations are the birthplace of any nation’s ski culture. Since skiing in China is so young most people are not concerned with big terrain or powder snow. These are the spots where children are putting on skis for the first time and where adults are transitioning from snow plowing to parallel skiing.
Update 11/6/14 – See article here about a new resort in Gansu Province
There is an off piste mountain called Datudingza and it is the highest peak in northeast China outside of Changbaishan. We have never been but photos of the region show a wind whipped summit with thinned out trees and a decent amount of snowfall. We might try to film here in the near future.
Ping Tian ski resort near Urumqi in Xinjiang province was rumored to be the best and biggest ski resort in China but it seems the project has stalled and we haven’t heard any updates about its progress. Based on our good experience of conditions and terrain at Silk Road Ski area just down the road we are hopeful that someday the project will materialize. The SE Group, developers of Stowe, Deer Valley, The Yellowstone Club, and Revelstoke are behind this project so if it were to become a reality it would be a luxury destination. A completed Ping Tian resort would rival Wanda Changbaishan as China’s luxury ski destination because its lift serviced terrain (up to 3000m) would be triple the size of the current Wanda operation. Check out their website here.
We have yet to hear of a viable commercial ski operation anywhere within Tibet. Please let us know if you hear of anything. There are cable cars and lifts scattered about the regions of western China that border the Tibetan Plateau; Sichuan Yunnan, Qinghai and Gansu. Most of these are tourist lifts for sight seeing. Some are actual ski areas. We doubt any of them are worth skiing for the following reasons: First, the entire region is generally too high and dry for skiing with only a few notable exceptions. These regions east of the Himalaya are shadowed and robbed of their moisture by the larger ranges to the west. Second, if they did exist at a reasonable elevation the snow would be entirely man made. Perhaps there is skiing to be had somewhere but we are focusing our efforts on more verified options. Prove us wrong and send pictures if you have scored in the region!
There are rumors of a huge ski development for the tourist city of Xian. We will update as we hear more. Based on terrain and weather the ski resort would be mostly low elevation with limited natural snow but it is still exciting to see China’s ski industry grow.