When we think of ski resorts, we usually consider places in Europe and North America. Yet, unknown to many, Asia is also home to a number of unsurpassed ski resorts that are waiting to be conquered.
Whether you’re a hardcore snowboarder or an adrenaline-junkie skier, Asia has plenty of remarkable runs to cover. Let’s look at the five best ski resorts and discover why they’re top destinations in winter.
1. Deogyusan Ski Resort – South Korea
Deogyusan Ski Resort is the best and largest resort in central South Korea. Located in the Mt. Deogyo National Park, in South Korea’s Jeollabuk-do Province, the resort is widely popular for its signature run, the Silk Road Slope at 1,520 meters above sea level.
The resort has two main sections: the Manseon Base, with 12 slopes, and the Seolcheon Base, with 10 slopes, and include the 6.1-kilometer-long Silk Road Trail Run and the Raiders Course. Both are considered the steepest runs in South Korea. You can also soak achy joints in the resort’s outdoor hot springs after a day of skiing.
A total of 14 lifts service the mountain and resort facilities. There’s a good combination of beginner, intermediate, advanced level runs across the mountain. The resort has condominium-style accommodations, which is unique for South Korea and convenient for families.
2. Niseko Ski Resort – Japan
Niseko is the most famous ski resort in Japan, and it’s well-known for its abundance of powder snow and spectacular backdrop. Niseko’s ski resorts are all located on Mount Niseko-Annupuri, with three major resorts, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, and Annupuri occupying most of the southeastern half of the mountain. A few smaller resorts are also nearby and within easy reach.
Niseko’s terrain is virtually unlimited, with plenty of vast, long ski runs, endless powder, and a growing number of after-ski activities. In addition to extensive stretches of ski trails, many of Niseko’s resorts offer winter-adventure seekers the option to explore off-trail skiing, a relatively uncommon attraction at most other ski resorts in Japan.
Grand Hirafu is the largest of the resorts, with over a dozen lifts and a secondary base at Hanazono on the eastern side of the mountain. Grand Hirafu is the only facility that has a substantial town around its main base, Hirafu Town, and has a large concentration of hotels, B&B’s, and holiday homes.
3. Gulmarg Ski Resort – India
Gulmarg’s Ski Resort is regarded as the best ski resort in the Himalayas, owing to its geography and extreme amounts of snowfall. Gulmarg is in Baramula District and is 56 kilometers from the city of Srinagar—the capital of Kashmir. The resort also happens to be home to the world’s highest gondola, which takes skiers up to the resort’s 2,213-meter summit.
Gulmarg’s terrain doesn’t run out of options, either, with areas that include alpine bowls, chutes, cornices, glade skiing among towering pines, as well as glacier skiing without the glacier. It also offers epic ski journeys down to some of the local shrines and villages that enhance the picturesque scenery and the experience as a whole.
Skiing and snowboarding conditions are ideal for advanced and expert individuals who enjoy off-piste backcountry terrain. It’s definitely not the place for the average beginner or intermediate, due to steep slopes and rough topography.
4. High1 Ski Resort – South Korea
High1 Ski Resort, an easy three-hour drive from Seoul, got its name from its location and is considered the highest and one of the biggest ski resorts in South Korea. In 2008, High 1 Resort hosted the IPC International World Cup for the disabled, and three of the resort’s runs qualified for the recent World Cup Ski Competition.
High1 has three peaks, each of which is the start of one of the 18 runs down Baekwoon Mountain. In total there are 21 kilometers of slopes, including two courses to accommodate beginner and advanced skiers alike. Moreover, the resort boasts a 403-room hotel, two ski houses along with two fully equipped rest areas.
The resort also caters to the disabled and those with special needs. The facility is equipped with a total of 10 lifts, two of which are eight-person gondolas to take visitors up the mountain peaks. The third gondola transports visitors between ski houses.
5. Yabuli International Ski Resort – China
The Yabuli International Ski Resort is China’s largest and best ski resort. Located 200 kilometers (124 miles) east of Harbin and 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Mudanjiang in Shangzhi City, in Heilongjiang Province, it serves as the primary training venue for China’s national ski teams and was the venue of the 1996 Asian Winter Games.
The northern location of the resort makes it perfect for skiing, with quality snow remaining until late spring or early summer (November to late March is the best time to go).
The ski resort has two separate areas for different use: Designed according to international standards, the alpine competitive skiing section reaches an altitude of 4,508 feet and offers excellent conditions for professionals. The leisure skiing section, with the highest altitude at about 3,281 feet, was specifically designed for a relatively safe environment for those wishing to take the sport at a relaxed pace.
Are you ready to visit these places and go on a skiing adventure? We hope the list has helped you decide where to go for an extreme skiing adventure, whether you’re an expert or a newbie.
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Author’s bio: Carolyn Ballard is a passionate traveler and the founder of DesToDis. She created her blog with the aim to share guidelines, tips, and personal experiences on all things travel related. By doing so, she hopes to inspire and help people wander around the world safely and easily. Twitter: https://twitter.com/destodis