Winter Sports in China // A Guide On What You Can Enjoy

Winter Sports in China ⛷ What’s The Deal? Where Can I Go?

Want to discover the best winter sports in China? Then you’re in exactly the right place!

Winter in Chinese

You’re probably already aware that the Winter Olympics are coming up early next year.

After the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018, it is now China’s turn to present the games for the second time. In 2008 Beijing was the host of the Summer Olympics and made a great impression all around the world

Now we are very excited to see what the host country has to offer this year. 

As with anything, there have been a number of critics claiming China is not suitable to host such a big winter sports event.

In truth some of the comments are very fair. Winter sports in China have played a rather minor role previously, but what you might not know is that it’s on its way to becoming very popular and has been strongly promoted in recent years. 

Previously, China wasn’t your typical winter sports destination. Chinese people travelled to Japan to enjoy the snow.

However, times are changing and that’s why we want to show you what winter sports in China are all about, including some of our favourites such as skiing and snowboarding.

Winter Sports in China | What To Expect

Winter Sports in China | Where to Go Skiing & Snowboarding?

Winter Sports in China | The Downsides

Winter Sports in China | The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Winter Sports in China | Wrapping Up

Winter Sports in China | FAQ’s

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Winter Sports in China | What To Expect

There is a good reason why winter sports in China have taken time to propel into popularity – the weather in China!

While the south of China enjoys a rather subtropical climate, the weather in the North can be VERY cold and also quite snowy.

Weather in Chinese

However, the perfect conditions for skiing are mostly found in rather remote areas of the country, that are not too easily accessible from larger cities.

For instance, Beijing can get very cold in winter but doesn’t get any snow since the winter months are the driest months.

However, thanks to modern technology, the lack of snow is no problem.

Actually, China already boasts 770 resorts, and due to the popularity, more and more are opening.

These resorts compared to international standards are rather small, and the infrastructure has room to improve. Despite this, with Beijing hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022, the scene is ever evolving and is developing very rapidly.

Winter Sports in China | Skiing & Snowboarding?

Since more and more ski resorts are popping up, we can’t give them all a mention.

What we have done though, is picked some of China’s best resorts that are well worth a visit!

Skiing Around Beijing

Skiing in China: LTL Student Indie on the slopes
LTL student Indie going Skiing in Beijing

Beijing Nanshan Ski Resort is the largest resort that is located in the Beijing area, just a 1.5 hour drive out of the city.

The skiing season is around December to March, and you will find slopes for all levels.

This ski resorts provides a great opportunity for a day trip if you are staying in Beijing and want to get out in the snow.

BIG BONUS | Sections of the Great Wall are not far as well.

A bit further from the city, you’ll find the Zhangjiakou Thaiwoo Ski Resort.

It takes around 3 hours by car from Beijing until you reach the town of ski resorts that is also one of the Olympic venues.

You can find many hotels and restaurants and a professional skiing school under the Switzerland system. 

We wrote in more detail about the Thaiwoo Ski Resort in this article here.

Nanshan Ski Resort
Thaiwoo Ski Resort

Skiing Around Harbin

The Harbin Yabuli Ski Resort is the largest ski resort in China.

It is located around 1.5 hours by train from the city of Harbin and enjoys lots of snow during the whole winter, usually from November – March.

The 17 slopes and 11 lifts offer opportunities for all Skiing levels. If you decide to come to Harbin, you can also enjoy the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival!

For reference, Harbin is located right in the north east of China and gets absolutely baltic during the winter months. Do NOT take this lightly, north-eastern winters in China are not to be messed with!

Skiing Around Chengdu

Chengdu has much more to offer than pandas and hot pot!

You might be surprised to find ski resorts in this area, but actually the Chengdu Xiling Ski Resort, located at 2,300m offers the highest skiing opportunities in China.

Due to its location, it is especially popular with people from the South, as they don’t have to travel as far north.

Other Noteworthy Mentions

We head back north for these final worthy mentions.

The skiing areas in the north might be not as convenient to get to, however, they offer the best snow and most beautiful mountain ranges. 

The Inner Mongolia Alshan Ski Resort offers skiing from November to early April.

It might not be the biggest resort; however, it is known for its high-quality snow conditions. It is close to the Arxan Yi’ershi Airport, so if you fancy snow but want to avoid the crowds in Beijing Ski resorts, just hop on the plane this winter.

Another resort to mention is the Xinjiang Tianshan International Ski Resort.

If you want to be surrounded beautiful mountains, look no further.

The resort is located around 1.5 hours from Ürümqi and offers the picturesque Tianshan Mountains.

11 Free Things to Do in Beijing 🆓 (for 2022) Thumbnail

11 Free Things to Do in Beijing 🆓 (for 2022)

Free Things to do in Beijing – This is an amazing city; there are tonnes of things to do in Beijing in your free time away from learning Mandarin.

Winter Sports in China | Downsides

While skiing is becoming more popular, very advanced skiers are still travelling outside of China to find more challenging and diverse slopes.

Yes, there are a variety of slopes for advanced skiers in China, but if you are looking for rugged and high mountains, super long slopes and the like, these resorts are not the best you’ll come across.

On the flipside, if you are an advanced skier, you can often jump ahead of the crowds and get to enjoy empty slopes, as skiing is comparatively new in China.

Unfortunately, this also means, that if you are a beginner, slopes can get very crowded, as many Chinese want to learn the sport.

Skiing is also not entirely cheap in China, as there are rather high costs for accommodation, renting gear and classes.

USEFUL TIP | If you prefer Après-Ski (social activities and entertainment following a day of skiing), China is probably not your go to place for Skiing. 

Winter Sports in China | Beijing 2022

The Winter Olympic Games will take place between the 4th and 20th of February, with the Paralympic Games from the 4th until 13th March.

Sadly though, people who don’t live in China will only be able to watch the games on TV, as tickets will be only sold to people who live in China and meet the requirements of the COVID-19 in China. 

A major parts of the games will take place in Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, these cities include most of the curling, ice hockey, speed and figure skating venues.

However, due to the development of the infrastructures, some biathlon, freestyle and cross-country skiing and ski-jumping competitions will also take place in areas further afield, such as Chongli. 

It will be very interesting to see if China’s regular promotion of winter sports has had its effect on the outcome of the Olympics and how Chinese athletes, who are generally comparatively new to winter sports, will fare. Time will tell.

Winter Sports in China | Wrapping Up

Winter sports in China may not be that developed yet, however due to the growing popularity, it should not be overlooked.

The major factor for this popularity is the Winter Olympics and it is hoped, yet more expected, that more Chinese people will try out winter sports in China after the Games.

Winter sport enthusiasts are therefore sure to find even more resorts and possibilities in the future! 

So if you are in China and don’t want to miss out on snow sports but also don’t want to leave the country, you are well covered.

There is of course still a big difference to winter sports in Canada or Europe, but it’s on its way up and surely has a big future ahead! 


Have you ever tried winter sports in China like skiing, skating or snowboarding? Let us know in the comments below and share your experiences with us 🙂

Winter Sports in China // FAQ’s

What ski resorts are there in Beijing?

Beijing Nanshan Ski Resort is the largest resort that is located in the Beijing area, just a 1.5 hour drive out of the city.

A bit further from the city, the Zhangjiakou Thaiwoo Ski Resort is located.

It takes around 3 hours by car from Beijing until you reach the town of ski resorts that is also one of the Olympic venues.

What is the biggest ski resort in China?

The Harbin Yabuli Ski Resort is the largest ski resort in China.

It is located around 1.5 hours by train from the city of Harbin and enjoys lots of snow during the whole winter, usually from November – March.

The 17 slopes and 11 lifts offer opportunities for all Skiing levels. If you decide to come to Harbin, you can also enjoy the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival!

Where is the highest ski resort in China?

You might be surprised, but actually the Chengdu Xiling Ski Resort, located at 2,300m offers the highest skiing opportunities in China.

When are the 2022 Winter Olympics?

The Winter Olympic Games will take place between the 4th and 20th of February, with the Paralympic Games from the 4th until 13th March.

Can anyone attend and watch the 2022 Winter Olympics?

Sadly not.

People who don’t live in China will only be able to watch the games on TV, as tickets will be only sold to people who live in China and meet the requirements of the COVID-19 in China. 

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    Alexander Krasnov , Student Advisor

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