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Skiing in China: 4 Steps to Plan a Ski Trip

Written by Sunny XieUpdated Dec. 18, 2023

China might not be the first choice for taking a skiing trip but with its success in being selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, more and more ski resorts are being enlarged, updated, or constructed. Currently, China has over 700 ski resorts, which is more than the whole of Europe has, and it is well worth combining a ski tour with China's historical sites and natural scenery.

Unfamiliar with ski resorts in China? Follow our 4 steps to plan your ideal skiing trip or contact our skiing experts to assist you.


Step 1: Choose a Suitable Ski Resort

The best skiing resorts in China are mainly spread in four areas: Beijing-Zhangjiakou, Jilin, Xinjiang, and Yabuli. In addition to these four areas, there are also a large number of ski resorts in north China, central China, and East China, but most of them are small in scale.

1) Beijing–Zhangjiakou Area (Olympic Venues)

The natural snowfall in Zhangjiakou is not abundant, but as one of the venues to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, making more snow is no problem. China's largest skiing consumer market, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou area is the most well-equipped and popular destination for skiing in China.

Recommended Ski Resorts:

  • Zhangjiakou Genting Ski Resort — Golden Zone for Alpine Sports, one of the competition venues for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
  • Zhangjiakou Thaiwoo Ski Resort — World-class snow parks
  • Beijing Nanshan Ski Resort — the largest ski resort close to Beijing for beginners and China's only advanced mogul trail

Read more on Top 10 Ski Resorts near Beijing.

Recommended Tours:

2) Jilin Area (Amazing Snow and Scenery)

At the so-called "Golden Latitude — 43° North" and on the awesome Changbai Mountains, the unique volcanic terrain, abundant snowfall, and low temperatures make this area a great place to experience the best in natural snow.

Recommended Ski Resorts:

  • Jilin Wanda Changbaishan International Ski Resort — the only "volcano ski resort" in China
  • Beidahu Ski Resort — "a kingdom of powder snow" with the longest trail in Asia (vertical drop 930 meters)

Recommended Tours:

3) Xinjiang Area (Alpine Snowscapes, Great Snowboarding)

As one of the birthplaces of skiing in China, Xinjiang has excellent mountain and snowfall conditions. It is the only place in China that is comparable to the world's skiing holy land, the Alps.

Recommended Ski Resort:

  • Xinjiang Tianshan International Ski Resort — a very picturesque setting, one of the most visually pleasing snowboard halfpipes in the world

Xinjiang is a good destination for a winter snow trip. If you would not be satisfied with only the fun in the beautiful ski resort, Kanas, a place like an ink painting, will satisfy your senses with wonder. Let us tailor a Xinjiang trip for you.

4) Yabuli Area (Best Ski Resort in China)

As the birthplace of skiing in modern China, Yabuli is the most well-known ski resort among Chinese people.

Recommended Ski Resort:

  • Harbin Yabuli Ski Resort — largest and best ski resort in China

Recommended Tours:

Step 2: Plan Your Ski Tour


Transportation (Beijing is Your Hub)

Being the capital of China, Beijing has a highly-developed international and domestic transportation infrastructure.

With the operation of Beijing–Zhangjiakou High-Speed Railway, besides the option of a 3–3½ hours' private drive, you will soon be able to take a 50-minute train ride from Beijing to Zhangjiakou.

When traveling internationally to Jilin or Yabuli (near Harbin), which are both located in northeast China, you should take Beijing as your transit city followed by a 2-hour flight or 5–6 hours by bullet train. If you are an expat in China, you'll find plenty of flights direct to either Jilin or Harbin from other major cities.

Xinjiang is in remote northwest China and so it is wise to take a flight to its capital city Urumqi from a large city like Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Chongqing, or Chengdu.


Ski resorts in China typically offer both luxury hotels/villas and youth hostels. Choosing a suitable lodging mainly depends on your budget and group size.

For beginners or those who prefer to stay close to the slopes, the ski-in-ski-out hotels would be most convenient. But, of course, the price is not cheap.

If you are traveling with a large family or group, you may consider hiring a villa that is equipped with a private kitchen. It would be a great option to have dinner together and share your skiing experiences in the evening.

For couples and small family groups with kids, choosing a hot spring hotel inside the resort or nearby for relaxing may be desirable.

Below are some favorite hotels among skiers:

Beijing Nanshan Ski Resort:

  • Shirton Inn (log cabin), from CN¥580 per room/night
  • Norwegian Villa, from CN¥6,380 per building/night for maximum 12 people

Zhangjiakou Thaiwoo Ski Resort:

  • Eagles Nest Youth Hostel, from CN¥150 per person/night (4-berth dorm)
  • Hyatt Place Chongli, from CN¥1,800 per person/night

Jilin Wanda Changbaishan International Ski Resort:

  • Holiday Inn Resort Changbaishan, from CN¥1,500 per person/night
  • Hyatt Regency Changbaishan, from CN¥3,600 per room/night (Ski-in-ski-out with hot spring)

Yabuli Ski Resort:

  • Club Med Yabuli, from CN¥3,000 per room/night (all-inclusive, minimum 3 nights in winter)

For hotel booking or more recommended hotels, please contact our skiing experts for further information.

Contact us for updated travel information

Ski Resort Payments and Procedures in China

Getting to know the procedures you can expect at ski resorts in China will save your time and bring you a better skiing experience. Below are the procedures step-by-step:

  • 1. Buy a ticket and enter the ski resort (most ski resorts in China require an entry ticket, whether you ski or not).
  • 2. Deposit an amount for on-site spending (balance refundable): ski lift, ski clothing rental, locker, food, etc. at the reception and receive a ski card (your debit card for payments inside the resort).
  • 3. Show your ski card at the collection window and receive your helmet, goggles, locker key, gloves, ski boots, etc.
  • 4. Get changed in the locker room and store your belongings.
  • 5. Choose suitable skis and poles or your snowboard at another window.
  • 6. Enjoy your skiing, and use your ski card for food or drinks, etc.
  • 7. Return the skis etc., change your clothing, return the ski card, and receive the balance.

Step 3: Packing for a Ski Trip


Packing is one of the most important procedures to ensure a smooth skiing trip. Overpacking or wrong packing might cause problems when taking a flight abroad or domestically, especially paying overweight luggage surcharges. But you don't want to be under-prepared either.

Follow our instructions or contact our professional travel consultant for further advice.

Bring Your Own Skiing Clothing (Recommended)

  • Sweater — or fleece that's warm and breathable/wicking
  • Hat — as a helmet liner
  • Goggles — for optical clarity and fog-free
  • Ski jacket — windproof, waterproof, breathable, and warm
  • Base layer and leggings — maintain core temperature, quick-dry for comfort
  • Waterproof gloves — well-insulated, keep moisture and cold out on slopes
  • Snow pants — again windproof, waterproof, breathable, and warm
  • Neck warmer — remember to keep your neck warm
  • High-SPF sun cream — keep your face moisturized and safe from UV rays

The more specialized and expensive items can be rented at the resorts, but it's more comfortable and convenient to have your own. Besides, these items are all useful in winter weather away from the slopes.

Rent Skis in the Skiing Resorts

If you are a first-time skier or snowboarder, we suggest you rent skis, ski boots, etc. at the resort. Make sure you like the sport before investing in your own sport-specific kit. Even if you are an experienced skier, choosing the most suitable skis/board to match the terrain of the resort is important and would enhance your experience or skills.

Of course, the other benefit of renting is that you don't have the hassle of bringing your skis etc. to the resort with the potential airport surcharges.

Step 4: Consider Travel Company Help (Us)


Transportation Issues

One of the features of large-scale ski resorts is their mountainous locations, which means they are often far from any city. Just getting there is a problem for many ski resorts. China Highlights offers experienced drivers and high-quality vehicles for the most comfortable and hassle-free ski resort transfers.

Save Money

Most ski resorts offer discount packages to travel agencies, especially when booking well in advance. Book with China Highlights to save your time and money.

The Language Barrier

Skiing is booming in China and its ski resorts cater well to local Chinese skiers, but English is not so good at ski resorts. With the assistance of a local English-speaking guide, your whole skiing experience could be much smoother.

Recommended Tours

With the experience of creating ski tours for over 20 years, China Highlights provides a varied choice of expertly-designed skiing trips around China. Below are some popular skiing tours combining sightseeing at major local highlights.

These tours can all be customized based on your personal needs. Contact us for a unique skiing tour in China.

Contact us for updated travel information

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