Winter is well and truly upon us and Beijing’s skiers are celebrating. It’s that time of year when we don our salopettes and head to the hills for one of the world’s most popular winter sports.
Duolemeidi Ski Resort
Located 220km north of Beijing in Hebei Province, Duolemeidi Ski Resort offers eight runs (each named after an Italian city) for skiers of all levels. Lessons are taught by experienced Chinese instructors and former coaches of the Italian national skiing team (reservations required, classes are 2,000RMB a day).
Skiing aside, the resort boasts China’s first high-speed wind proof chair lift that can transport six skiers at up to five metres a second. The European-esque resort, which happens to be backed by foreign investors, also earns points for its range of restaurants, including a bistro at the bottom of the slope serving Italian coffees and pizzas. The resort also offers professional ski equipment maintanence.
Weekday three-hour pass 140RMB; weekends and public holidays 160-220RMB.
Season card 4,980RMB; ten weekday card 1,180; ten-day weekend card 1,980RMB (days can be spread out across the season).
Ski equipment rental 120RMB (weekdays); weekends and public holidays 140-190RMB.
Snowboard coaching from 320RMB per person for two hours; ski coaching from 180RMB for one hour.
Head out on the Badaling Highway, which will turn into the Zhangcheng Expressway. Take the Chongli South exit and continue for a further 15km. The toll charge for cars from Beijing to Zhangjiakou costs 75RMB. Detailed maps are available on the Duolemeidi website. (www.duolemidiski.com)
Huaibei International Ski Resort
A veteran of the Beijing skiing scene, Huaibei International Ski Resort caters to beginners and advanced skiers, as well as snowboarders. Founded in 2000, there are eight slopes in total, including two advanced trails, two for intermediates and four for beginners as well as four lifts– making it the largest international ski resort in Beijing. Huaibei’s best asset is arguably a stunning view of the Great Wall. It’s best to book ski passes in advance, not doing so will cost you twice as much.
Weekday pass 240 RMB; 120RMB (with reservation). Weekend day pass 380RMB; 180RMB (with reservation). Spring Festival and New Year day pass 410RMB; 210RMB (with reservation).
Night skiing is available 7-9.30pm at 90RMB per session. A five-day night skiing pass costs 550RMB.
Prices include ski rental. Ski apparel and lockers cost extra.
If you've got your own skis or board and want to ski all season, you can buy a season pass for 1,680RMB.
Huaibei is about 70km from Beijing. Your best bet is to catch the free shuttle bus that departs from Dongzhimen bus station at 8.10am and returns at 4.30pm. Reserve your place at least one day in advance. The 936 bus also goes from Dongzhimen Wai bus stop to Huaibei Guoji Huaxuechang – just make sure to get on the slow bus.
If you're travelling by car, take the Jingcheng Expressway and exit at Huairou. When you reach the Huairou Kaifanglu roundabout (about 5km north of Yanxi Lake) take the 111 National Expressway until you see the resort.
Jundushan Ski Village
Jundushan Ski Resort is the closest to the city centre at a mere 34km away, and offers night skiing with arresting vistas across the city. The slopes include runs for both beginners and intermediates. All of the slopes are south-facing and so can get a little slushy.
Even if the snow's not great, this is one of the best ski spots for larking around with sleds, inner tubes and snowmobiles. After a busy day of playing in the snow, chill out and soak stiff or sore muscles in the hot springs at Jiuhua Spa and Resort in Xiaotangshan (6178 2288) – just 5km away.
Jundushan is easily do-able as a day trip from Beijing, but if you fancy making a weekend of it there are Russian-style villas and Mongolian yurts available at the resort, as well as numerous hotels to plonk your head outside of the ski park.
Day pass Monday-Friday 160RMB; half-day 140RMB (four hours). Full day Saturday-Sunday, New Year and Spring Festival 240RMB; half-day 200RMB (four hours).
Night skiing 5-10pm daily 100RMB. Snowboard coaching starts from 320RMB per person for two hours; ski-suit rental from 30RMB.
Take either the 345 or 919 bus from Deshengmen station to Dongguang Guandao, then the number 21 bus to the resort.
If you’re starting off by subway take Line 13 to Longzhe and then hop on the 21 bus to the resort.
Nanshan Ski Village
Located near Miyun County, only 62km from Wanghe Qiao in Beijing, Nanshan is the closest ski resort to the capital. The ski village, which opened for business in 2001, boasts 21 trails. Although they aren't long, they are well maintained and have some of the most reliable snow around the city.
The resort has 120 certified instructors on hand to help anyone wanting a few pointers, plus a world class snowboarding school run by Burton Learn to Ride. The snowboard park, built and maintained by Mellow Parks, is one of the best in the country with two kickers, a half pipe and six rails.
But Nanshan is not only about skiing and snowboarding. Try sledding on snow or the dry 1,318m Seasons Toboggan -imported all the way from Germany!
Weary bones can rest at the nearby Shirton Villas. There are 30 rooms available to rent from 530RMB per night for a double room, in addition to a number of Norwegian chalets with three or six bedrooms starting from 2,880RMB a night. All are equipped with inviting fireplaces, TVs and bathrooms. The resort houses several restaurants selling a variety of Western and Chinese food, so rest assured you won't go hungry.
Entrance fee 20RMB.
Weekday pass 120RMB; Weekend and public holiday day pass 180RMB.
Season pass 2,780RMB; ten-day multiple-visit card 1,880RMB; nine-day family multiple-visit card 1,880RMB.
Season card: 4,888RMB; weekdays season card 1,980RMB. Free ski-rental with a 200RMB deposit
Take the 980 express bus from Dongzhimen bus station to Miyun Taiyangjiayuan or Xidaqiao (14RMB). Then hop in a taxi to Nanshan Ski Village – it's approximately 10 minutes away and will set you back 20RMB.
If you're driving take the Jingcheng Expressway to exit 16 towards Mi Yun. Turn right and follow the signs to Nanshan Ski Village.
Shijinglong Ski Resort
Situated approximately 100km from downtown Beijing, Shijinglong Ski Resort has the best of both worlds for beginner to intermediate skiers and boarders looking for a day trip out of the city. Less busy than the nearby Nanshan, its beginner-friendly bottom slopes are easy on the boards and skis and there's a good number of instructors on hand.
The mid-level run has a maximum slope of twenty-eight degrees while the most challenging slope is over 1,000m long. With a maximum slope of thirty degrees, it has a pitch of 300 metres (1,080 feet).
Après ski revolves around the small restaurant serving Western-style food, as well as the snow sauna and hot spring bath.
Weekday pass 100RMB. Weekend day pass 150RMB; New Year and Spring festival 170RMB; 21-day card 1,880RMB (valid for three years).
Ski and snowboard rental included; locker rental 10RMB; ski suit rental 30RMB.
If you’re going by car set off from Madian Bridge and get on the Badaling Expressway to Yanqing County. Then take the 110 National Highway from Longqing Gorge to Huangbai Temple. Follow the signs to Shijinglong. Prefer public transport? Take the number 919 bus from Deshengmen station to Yanqing. From there either hop in a cab to the resort (approximately 20RMB), or catch the 920 bus to Zhongxin Shichang, about a ten-minute walk from the resort. You can also catch their coach which leaves from the entrance of Guomei Dianqi to the north-east of Maidian Qiao. Buses depart at 7.30am and it costs 35RMB for a two-way ticket (reserve on 5905 9088 during working hours).
Wanlong Ski Resort
Located less than a four hour drive from Beijing, at over 2,000 metres Wanlong Ski Resort is the highest resort around the capital, meaning a long season and good snow. The runs (there are 22 in total) are long and challenging enough to keep most skiers and snowboarders interested, with the Jade Dragon piste running 2,500 metres.
If the snow's not good, don't panic. The resort has a huge artificial snow making machine so it's always a sure bet. Though the lifts can be slow, there's a reward at the top of the mountain in the form of a cosy café with a fireplace and panoramic views.
On the accommodation front, there's Ssang Yong Hotel (shuanglong jiudian) a 100-room three-star resort hotel (031 3461 8888, prices range from around 800 to 2,000RMB) on site and it's close enough to the lifts that you can ski there from your room.
You can take buses or trains to the city of Zhangjiakou. The last 60 kilometers can be covered by taxi. Another option is to catch a bus to the nearby town of Chongli and then get a taxi to take you to the resort.
Wanlongbayi Ski Village
Run by the same company behind Wanlong in Zhangjiakou, the 200,000 sqm Wanlongbayi Ski Resort is located near Xi Wuhuan in Fengtai district.
The resort offers six slopes for skiers of all levels, plus night skiing for those who fancy taking advantage of Wanlongbayi's proximity to Beijing and hitting the slopes after work.
Wanlongbayi also has plenty of other activities – think snowboarding and a shooting programme – meaning non skiers in the family can have a great time while you plough the pistes.
Two hours 110RMB (weekdays); 155RMB (weekends). Four hours 130RMB (weekdays); 220RMB (weekends).
Night skiing 5.30-11pm daily 140RMB (includes a meal).
Ski and snowboard rental included (deposit 500RMB, plus you can rent both sets of equipment at the same time); locker-rental 10RMB; ski suit rental 30RMB.
From Lianshi Dong Lu, head west and take the first exit on Shuitun Lujing Lu. After you have passed Manshui Bridge, turn left at the first set of traffic lights (passing Yingshan Forest Park), then turn right at the next set of traffic lights.
Alternatively, take subway line 1 west towards Gucheng (the penultimate stop). From Gucheng, take bus 327 to Wanlongbayi Ski Resort.
Yuyang International Ski Resort
Located in Pingu – approximately 60km from Beijing – Yuyang International Ski Resort was officially opened in 2006, and claims to be the largest of its kind near Beijing.
Covering an area of 6,000 sqm, the resort offers 11 runs for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers, in addition to a quadruple chair lift and 12 double chair lifts.
Yuyang isn't just a paradise for those who relish hurtling down a mountain on one or two planks. In the summer there are plenty of activities to try your hand at, from fishing to golf. Of course you don't have to be active: you could simply admire the pretty snow-capped mountains from the resort's restaurant while tucking into a variety of cuisines. Cantonese, Sichuan, Hunan, Dalian Seafood and Japanese are all present and correct.
If you're splashing out and staying over, the resort also houses 110 tastefully decorated rooms starting from 560RMB a night.
Weekday pass 220RMB; half-day pass 100RMB.
Weekend day pass 300RMB. half-day pass 160RMB.
Season pass 2,000RMB (includes entrance fee); 60-hour pass 1,200RMB.
Locker-rental 10RMB a day; ski suit rental 30RMB a day.
Join the Jingping Expressway in Beijing: Yuyang Ski Resort is approximately 50 minutes away by car
Feeling inspired to hit the slopes? Here's a primer to help you decode what equipment you'll need and where to get it.
Hands need covering up in the cold, which is where a good pair of gloves comes in.
Ski gloves are generally made from natural leather or synthetic materials. Whichever pair you plump for don't skimp on the price. For cheap, read cold and wet.
Only a few seasons ago it was only hard-core skiers that wore helmets, but now they are worn much more widely. And for good reason! A ski helmet will help protect you from concussion and brain damage in the event of an accident.
You need a ski suit. Made from wind and water-resistant or water-proof fabrics, ski suits should be worn over the rest of your clothes when skiing. Ski suits typically come in bright colours so that lifeguards can easily locate you on the slopes.
Ski boots come in several categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Whichever you are, choose an expert fitter. An expert will take at least a couple of hours to correctly match foot to boot.
Ski stores in Beijing
1-1 Dongzhimen Neidajie, Dongcheng district（8406 1844）
2-16, Building 2, Zhushikou Dongdajie, Chongwen district（6701 5131) Open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm daily; Saturday and Sunday 10am to 9pm.
Xiaotao Zhuang, Wangsi Ying, Chaoyang district (6720 4603). Open 8.30am-9.30pm daily. 朝阳区王四营乡小陶庄