Skiing is an exhilarating winter sport that takes place amongst stunning mountain scenery all over the world. Wherever soft powder snow is abundant, you’ll find people swishing downhill enjoying the thrill; here are the top ski resorts in Asia so you can join in the fun.
TOP SKI RESORTS IN ASIA
Appi Kogen, Tohoku, Japan
Appi Kogen is a large but quiet ski resort, even during the busy season, so it’s an excellent choice for beginners and families. It has one of the longest ski runs in Japan, an impressive 2km. The dry powder snow here is perfect for downhill skiing and off-piste activities such as snowmobile tours and sledging.
Appi, as it is known to friends of the resort, is a couple of train rides away from Tokyo, but there are lots of fun and exciting things to do here besides skiing. There are world-famous hot springs in Tohuku and some beautiful spa hotels.
Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
Niseko is in Hokkaido, 2.5 hours away from the city of Sapporo. In fact, four separate ski resorts, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, An’nupuri and Hanazono, are all accessible with one ski pass, so there are lots of slopes to try out off-piste facilities to enjoy.
This fantastic ski haven is known for its sublime powder snow; over 15 metres of snow falls each year thanks to the winter storms of Siberia. The wide powder bowls, tree-lined downhill runs, stunning off-piste ski treks and views of imposing Mount Yotei make Niseko a fantastic place to ski.
Rusutsu Ski Resort, Hokkaido, Japan
Rusutsu is a short hop from Sapporo City and sits in the shadow of the Yotei-zan volcano; a mountain referred to as the Fuji of Japan. The slopes on this popular Asian resort’s ski run across three gorgeous mountain peaks, and the vibrant apres-ski is focused on the village of Rusutsu.
The snow here is thick and dry and covers 42 km of slopes of all kinds, from super steep to gentle and ideal for those new to skiing. The resort is well known for its superb, silver birch-lined tree runs. There are many other fun things to do at Rusutsu; kids will love the rubber tyre ‘snow train’ rides, and dogsledding is also very popular with visitors.
Alpensia Resort, Pyeongchang, South Korea
Alpensia Resort was the location for the Winter Olympics in 2018. It has 4.9 sq km of landscape to ski, and it also boasts a sports park with world-class jump slopes; the tower is 160-metres high and has some beautiful cross-country routes.
Once the skiing is done, tourists should make the most of the area they have travelled so far to see. Odaesan National Park, Samyang Ranch and Daegwallyeong, a breath-taking peak, area all nearby and ready to be explored.
Jisan Forest Resort, Icheon, South Korea
Jisan Forest Resort is less than an hour’s drive away from South Korea’s capital Seoul, so it’s great for city folk and those travelling around Asia. The resort has ten beginner and intermediate powder snow slopes, so it is great for amateurs, improvers and families rather than experienced skiers.
The longest run at Jisan is 1.5km, and the slopes cover 8km of the pretty landscape. Between the end of December and the beginning of February, two ski runs will stay open after midnight for atmospheric night-time skiing.
Gulmarg ski resort is in the Kashmiri part of the Indian Himalayas. It is famous for having the highest ski lift; the Gulmarg Gondola is an incredible 3,979m, acclimatisation to the high altitude is likely to be needed for non-locals.
The 30km of light powder snow is terrific to ski in, and the most experienced people can take on the resort’s most challenging runs and have Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world, in the background.
Alshan Alpine Ski Resort, Mongolia, China
Alshan Alpine Ski Resort is a plane flight away from Beijing. It’s a large resort that benefits from consistent daily snow that keeps the ski runs, beginner’s slopes and the cross-country trails full of thick powder. The location is beautiful too; Alshan nestles on and in-between the tall mountains on the border with inner Mongolia.
Ancient forests edge the resort, and the off-piste routes weave between them. The Chinese national skiing team uses Alshan, so it’s a fantastic spot for advanced skiers. However, there are still plenty of fun slopes for those less skilled.
Yabuli Ski Resort, Heilongjiang, China
Yabuli Ski Resort is the largest in China; it has an impressive 30km of ski slopes with 18 ski runs to choose from. It’s the ideal location for adrenaline lovers; the Chinese national team train here, and the 2.7km ‘Road for the Brave’ is a tremendous challenge for skilled skiers.
Kids will adore the longest sledge ride in Asia with its 48 exciting twists and turns, and there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to practice their skills and enjoy the snow. Yabuli can be reached from Beijing by either plane or train.
Genting Ski Resort, Beijing
The Genting (Secret Garden) Ski Resort has been recently transformed to host the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Once it is finished, it will be the largest ski resort in China, with 87 ski trails over 43 miles, and nearly 20,000 people will ski here at once.
There’s daily snow throughout the winter, and the powder is managed and maintained by sophisticated Italian snow-making and grooming machines, so the snow is always at its best. The network of chair lifts, magic carpets and cables cover an impressive 19 miles, so the large capacity will never feel too busy.