Article By Jin and Francis
The groans and hisses of radiators, the prevalence of puffy jackets, and falling of the last few stubborn orange and yellow leaves herald the gradual but certain arrival of winter. We even had our first snowfall of the season on November 22! However, fanatics here often face a difficult question: “How do I do (insert winter sport name) in Xi’an???”
In this article, we hope to provide some answers and opportunities for those eager to participate in winter sports. However, before we get your hopes up, the only truly “winter” sports readily available are skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. As much as we love curling and others, we don’t know of any locations in Xi’an that will provide the required equipment or facilities. If you do know of any others, please let us know!
Skiing and Snowboarding
Unfortunately, Xi’an’s premier ski location, Ao Shan Ski Resort, is still not open to foreign passport holders. Our question to Ao Shan: what gives?
Unless you are willing to get on a plane to Beijing or Harbin, there are only 11 local resorts in Shaanxi besides Ao Shan. Of these, we only recommend day trips (we don’t recommend overnighting unless you enjoy “rustic” accommodations). All of these locations provide equipment rentals, insurance, and have affordable food and drink available onsite. For functional yet highly affordable winter gear and ski or snowboard equipment, we recommend Decathlon. For the latest conditions, always call the resort hotline ahead of time.
Bai Lu Yuan Ski Resort 白鹿原滑雪场
- Getting there: Take the 910 or 240 bus to Xi’an Wai Mao Xue Yuan Station （西安外贸学院站）
- The closest to Xi’an and best for beginners with wide, shallow slopes. Tubing and night skiing available.
Cui Hua Shan Ski Resort 翠华山滑雪场
- 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）
- 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.
Tong Chuan Zhao Jin Ski Resort
- Almost 3km of trails: beginner, intermediate, advanced (Advanced slopes require a helmet).
- Getting there: drive yourself or 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).
Xi’an has four skating rinks with real ice. Most locations are small, but one rink is approximately a regulation-size rink. All locations provide skate rentals and lessons. Some rinks are even able to host hockey events, although you may need to provide your own equipment. Call ahead of time to confirm business hours or to book lessons.
O’Jia Ice Rink 奥佳真冰场（太奥广场店）
- This rink is a bit farther from the center of the city, about 2 km from Kaiyuanmen Subway Station
- This rink is quite a bit larger than the others and appears to be a regulation-size hockey rink. They also have a hockey summer camp.
Party Day Skate Pro Ice Rink 钟楼健乐滑冰乐园
- Close to the Bell Tower, this rink is the most accessible being just a few hundred meters from Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station on Line 2
- Located on top of the Minsheng Baihuo Shopping Mall-Luomashi Branch (民生百货骡马市店), you can make a day of it!
Eurojoy Skating Club
- Located in a shopping mall on top of Chaoyangmen Station on Line 1, the rink is on the 5th floor.
- This rink actually has concentric circle markings that appear to be for curling, but curling equipment is NOT provided. Let us know if you do try to BYO curling equipment.
Other sports you can do in winter include archery, shooting, golf, tennis and others with indoor facilities. However, as with most indoor sports, you can do these any season, so we won’t mention them further here. Have a fun and active winter. Play safe!
Jin and Francis are both teachers in Xi’an and we love exploring food. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.