Article by Francis and Jin
One important preface: skiing is inherently risky, and resorts are generally far away from well-equipped hospitals. Conditions are constantly changing: be aware and stay safe!
It is an exciting time to be skiing in China – with the 2022 Olympics in view, new ski resorts are popping up all the time! No matter if you are a newbie, family, or powder junkie, there are suitable options close by for everyone. Speaking from our experience skiing in multiple countries and around Xi’an, here are our recommendations.
Before talking resorts, some notes about equipment. It is easy to rent boots and skis/boards at every ski resort in China. Rentals are almost always included in the ticket price, but make sure you confirm this before purchasing lift tickets. If renting, bring thick socks and low expectations: don’t expect much boot padding or freshly ground edges. If you are interested in acquiring your own gear, it is possible to completely outfit yourself for less than 2,000RMB at Decathlon (sporting goods retailer: Downtown, TaiBai, TV Tower, West Xi’an, NE Xi’an, Mingguang Rd).
As for tickets and travel, there are often multiple ways to book and get to a resort. For the following three resorts, you can search “aww2225” on WeChat for the official account (not individual account) “爱玩旅游网官网” to book everything including lift tickets/rentals and shuttle bus seats. In addition to normal precautions regarding passport, personal safety, etc., we recommend dressing in layers, bringing an extra pair of dry socks, and making conservative choices about eating (nobody goes to a ski resort just for food).
Onto the slopes! There are 12 ski resorts within 260 kilometers of Xi’an.
Three that we recommend for day trips include:
About 300m of trails: beginner
Getting there: Take the 910 or 240 bus to Xi’an Wai Mao Xue Yuan Station (西安外贸学院). If driving, expect about 45-60 minutes.
Hours: 8AM-5PM, nighttime 5PM-11PM
Costs(RMB, subject to change): weekday unlimited time 99, weekend unlimited time 168
The closest to Xi’an and best for beginners with wide, shallow slopes. Tubing and night skiing available.
About 800m of trails: beginner and beginner/intermediate
Getting there: From Line 2 Guo Zhan Zhong Xin Station (国展中心站), take the 905 bus to Cui Hua Shan Station (翠华山站). Driving is about 1-1.5 hours.
Costs(RMB, subject to change): weekday unlimited 168, weekend unlimited 248
Super kid friendly with tubing, sleds, and other family activities. Known as “the first Qinling mountains ski resort,” this location probably has the best natural scenery. If you get tired of skiing, you can hike the Cui Hua Shan Scenic Area.
About 3km of trails: beginner, intermediate, advanced
Getting there: reserve a round-trip seat on the shuttle bus for 60RMB, call 400 991 2225 (If your Chinese isn’t at least black diamond-level, get a fluent friend to help you). Driving is about 2-2.5 hours.
Hours: 8:30AM-6:30PM, nighttime 6:30PM-9:30PM
Costs(RMB, subject to change): weekday half-day 180/unlimited 360, weekend half-day 240/unlimited 460, nighttime weekday 80/weekend 100.
For overnight stays, the Zhao Jin Shu Yuan Hotel is about a 5-minute drive away. Reservations and package deals, call 091 9816 5555, (foreigners accepted, but brush up on your Chinese beforehand)
The closest resort with some semblance of an “international” skiing experience. Also has a seasonal racecourse and limited terrain park features. Advanced slopes require a helmet.
The other 9 resorts around Xi’an each have positives, but Ao Shan Ski Resort (a new resort with diverse terrain) is not open to foreigners yet. Stay tuned about that one.
For skiers seeking advanced terrain, off-piste or natural snow, you will need to travel outside of Shaanxi Province.
Try one of four resorts in Chongli near Beijing.
See here: http://www.skichina.com/chongli-cluster/
For the die-hard off-piste backcountry bombers and freeriders looking for big dumps (aka epic snowfall), try someplace in Xinjiang like Silk Road Ski Resort. See here: http://www.skichina.com/silk-road/
Francis and Jin are both school teachers in Xi’an and have skied and/or snowboarded across the U.S., Norway, Japan, and China. You can contact Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jin at email@example.com for more information about skiing around Xi’an.