Rather than concede defeat to frigid temperatures and hide indoors, take advantage of the cold weather – hit the slopes for exercise, fresh air and a family getaway. Although Beijing sits on a plain, the city is surrounded by mountains and is located near the Xishan and Yanshan mountain ranges, providing several choices for skiing and snowboarding excursions. There’s a resort to satisfy every type of snow sport enthusiast – indoor slopes at Qiaobo Snow Dome, ideal snowboarding in Nanshan Ski Village, Shijinglong for beginners and Huaibei for beautiful mountaintop views.
Nanshan Ski Village
All-Around Skiing and Snowboarding
Located in the south of Miyun Country and just an hour away, Nanshan is the most popular and well-organized of the resorts nearby. Skiers of all levels can glide down ten well-kept trails and experienced snowboarders can show off their skills at Nokia Nanshan Mellow Park, which boasts a half-pipe, seven rails and five kickers. Resort instructors speak English, so foreign beginners don’t have any excuse to hide indoors sipping hot chocolate (lessons RMB 120 for 3-4 people). For those who want to focus on their nose and tail rolls, the Nanshan International Snowboarding School has Austrian ski instructors on hand. Lodging is available and snowmobiles are available for rent (RMB 40 for five minutes). Mon-Fri: RMB 100-220. Weekends: RMB 150-360.
Take the shuttle bus from Dongzhimen, 8.30am every Sat and Sun. Daily 9am-5.30pm. Shengshuitou Village, Henanzhai Town, Miyun County (8909 1909) 北京南山滑雪滑水度假村有限公司, 密云县河南寨镇圣水头村 www.nanshanski.com
Dolomiti Mountain Resort
Ski Like a European
This Hebei resort strives to live up to its name, which comes from the spectacular Dolomite Mountains in northeastern Italy. The ski lifts are imported from Italy and Dolomiti boasts a full-service equipment shop. Located 226km northwest of Beijing (a two-and-a-half-hour drive), Dolomiti has five slopes ranging from beginner to advanced skiing levels, as well as one run for snowboarders. The lack of accommodation may deter some skiers, but this resort does offer coffee and pizza at the base lodge and the ski school has more than 30 professional teachers who speak English. One-on-one lessons are available.
Mon-Fri: RMB 100 (2hr), RMB 120 (3hr), RMB 140 (4hr), RMB 220 (full day). Weekends: RMB 150 (2hr), RMB 180 (3hr), RMB 200 (4hr), RMB 360 (full day). Contact the Beijing office at 8453 5186. Head out on the Badaling Highway, which will turn into Jingzhang Highway. Exit onto Shengli Lu and cross the Qingshui Qiao. Turn right just before the gas station and follow the road to Dolomiti. Xiqueliang, Sitaizui Village, Chongli County, Zhangjiakou, Hebei (158 1099 2506). 多乐美地度假山庄, 河北省张家口市崇礼县四台嘴乡喜鹊梁 www.dolomitiski.cn
Huaibei Int’l Ski Resort
Skiing With Great Wall Views
With a majestic vista of the snow-covered Great Wall, Huaibei Ski Resort touts a 3.8km-long ski trail and a ski lift that climbs 1,200m high to accommodate both beginners and advanced skiers and snowboarders. The resort will operate a seven-day winter camp for children ages 3 and up that starts January 10 and includes accommodation, equipment rental, dining and classes (RMB 2,800 per student). Inspired by the Dai ethnic minority’s water festival, the resort is organizing a “Snow Play Festival” on January 28 – basically, a giant snowball fight.
Full day lift ticket: RMB 150 (Mon-Fri), RMB 200 (weekends), RMB 240 (holidays). Hop on a free shuttle bus to Huaibei from Dongzhimen subway station. Take the 936 bus from Dongzhimen. Daily 8.30am-9.30pm. 548 Hefangkou Village, Huaibei Town, Huairou District (8969 6677) 怀北国际滑雪场, 怀柔区怀北镇河防口村548号 www.hbski.net
Shijinglong Ski Resort
Slopes and Hot Springs
Shijinglong is located in Yanqing, 74 miles northwest of Beijing, covering 600 acres with seven trails divided into beginner, medium and advanced levels. Those who aren’t keen on breaking a sweat can try riding a snowmobile, a dog sled or a donkey-pulled sleigh. After a strenuous day in the cold, soothe your tired muscles with a soak in the hot springs by the snowmobile circuit. Bring your own ski clothes and gear if you can, since the rentals available aren’t the newest.
Mon-Fri: RMB 100 (2hr), RMB 140 (4hr), RMB 220 (full day). Weekends: RMB 150 (2hr); RMB 200 (4hr); RMB 360 (full day). Take the 919 bus from Deshengmen to Yaqing and change to the 920. Daily 8am-5pm. Zhongyangfang, Zhangshanying Town, Yanqing County (6919 1614/15/17) 石京龙滑雪场, 延庆县张山营镇中羊坊 www.sjlski.com
Beijing Jundushan Ski Resort
Located at the famous Xiaotangshan Spa in Changping, Jundushan is the ski resort closest to downtown Beijing and is also best for night skiing. Although many resorts close around 7pm, the trails at Jundushan are open until bedtime. Check out the snowboard competitions every night. Sleds, inner tubes and snowmobiles are also available for rent, as are stay-in Mongolian tents or Russian-style villas. The gear shop Icon X also organizes an all-beginner weekend on Jundushan’s slopes to give full support to all newcomers.
Full day: RMB 180 (Mon-Fri), RMB 280 (weekends), RMB 320 (holidays). Take either the 345 or 919 bus from Deshengmen station to Dongguang Guandao, then the 21 bus to the resort, which is about 34km from Beijing. Daily 8am-10pm. 588 Zhenshun Village, Cuicun Town (5 km north of the Xiaotangshan Hot Spring Holiday Village), Changping District (6072 5888) 军都山滑雪场, 昌平区崔村镇真顺村588号 www.bjski.com.cn
Qiaobo Ice and Snow World
Indoor Skiing for Beginners
Beijing’s only indoor ski park is located in Shunyi and contains a Children’s Snow Paradise that’s perfect for kids who want to learn basic skills and grow familiar with the equipment. Skis, boards and boots are all in great condition and come from well-known brands like Burton. English-speaking instructors provide private lessons (RMB 150 per hour), and kids as young as 3 are welcome to participate. This winter, Qiaobo’s “Family Fun Package” (RMB 898) includes two-hour weekend ski runs for three people, plus a free lunch or one-night stay. Kids can also sign up for a five-day camp (RMB 3,300/person) for beginners. Qiaobo Snow Dome is located 15km from the airport.
Daily 9am-10pm. Inside Chaobai River National Forest Park, Mapo, Shunyi District (8497 2568) 乔波冰雪世界, 顺义区马坡潮白河国家森林公园内6号 www.qbski.com