The classic getaway in Asia usually involves picture postcard beaches, lush jungles, and idyllic islands. But for winter sports lovers looking for a fix of the white stuff without the hassle of a long-haul flight, or those simply seeking something different to the sun-sea-sand formula: there is another side to the region.

While it doesn’t have the classic appeal of European chocolate box resorts, or the challenging terrain of North American slopes, come winter, Asia does offer a range of ski and snowboard options for almost every ability, budget, and group size. Most are within a few hour’s flight and easy reach of Hong Kong – perfect for an alternative long weekend.

Appi Kogen Ski Resort – Japan

Appi Kogen Ski Resort Japan
Advanced skiers can enjoy the finest quality of powder snow at their six substantial tree run zones (© Appi Kogen Ski Resort)

Iwate, located in Northern Japan, is another fantastic ski destination. It offers a range of slopes for all abilities and is particularly noted for its quiet, uncrowded runs. The resort has ample on-site amenities, including dining options, spas, and entertainment venues. Ski schools and equipment rental services are also available, offering convenience for visitors. It’s a family-friendly resort, ensuring a fun-filled experience for kids.

When To Go: Late November to Early April
How To Get There: Take a 4-hour flight to Tokyo, then take a rain to Morioka Station in Iwate
Where To Stay: Hachimantai Mountain Hotel & Spa, Crowne Plaza – ANA Resort Appi Kogen, Holiday Inn Resort Appi Kogen

Beijing Nanshan Ski Resort – China

nanshan ski resort china
Beijing Nanshan Ski Village is within 100km from the Mainland Chinese capital (© Nanshan Ski Resort)

Beijing Nanshan Ski Village is one of the large-scale ski resorts in Northern part of China and is known for its excellent snow quality. This resort is only about 75 kilometres from Beijing’s city centre in Miyun County, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. The resort boasts a wide variety of slopes suitable for all levels, from beginners to experts, spread over 5 kilometres. With 13 lifts transporting guests up the mountain, you’ll have ample time to enjoy the stunning winter views. Beijing Nanshan Ski Village has plenty of on-site amenities such as restaurants, bars, and various entertainment options. It also offers ski schools and equipment rental services, making it an ideal destination for families and kids.

When To Go: November to March
How To Get There: Take a 3-hour flight to Beijing, then grab a taxi or catch a bus to Nanshan Ski Village
Where To Stay: Shirton Inn, Beijing Xiangzhi Homestay, Tingqian Yuanhou Hostel

Changbaishan Wanda International Resort – China

changbaishan international ski resort china
Ecosign, the design firm behind Winter Olympics, designed more than 30 variable snow tracks at Changbaishan ski resort (© Changbaishan Wanda International Resort)

Changbaishan Wanda International Resort is another prominent ski destination in China that offers international-standard ski runs and facilities. It features a variety of slopes catering to different skill levels. Nestled in the mountains, the resort offering breathtaking scenery in a serene environment. With its state-of-the-art facilities, including high-speed chairlifts and gondolas, it ensures a seamless skiing experience. The resort has multiple dining, spas, entertainment venues, and even a shopping centre. Ski schools and equipment rental services are readily available for those new to the sport or without their own gear. Its commitment to providing a family-friendly environment makes it a favourite among visitors with children.

When To Go: mid-November to early April
How To Get There: Take a 3-hour flight to Beijing. Then, take a flight or high-speed train to Changbaishan
Where To Stay: Wanda Jin Resort Changbaishan , The Westin Changbaishan Resort, Sheraton Changbaishan Resort

Furano Ski Resort – Japan

Other than skiing, try snow snowmobiles or visit the fantasy village for a hot drink in the ice cafe (© Furano Ski Resort)

Furano, situated in the central part of Hokkaido, is famous for its light and powdery snow. The resort features a mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert slopes, providing a versatile skiing experience. Furano offers a variety of on-site amenities, including restaurants, bars, and entertainment options. Ski schools and equipment rental shops are available for those needing guidance or gear. Its commitment to providing a kid-friendly environment makes it a favourite among families.

When To Go: Late November – Early May
How To Get There: Take a 5-hour flight to Sapporo, then take a train or bus to Furano
Where To Stay: New Furano Prince Hotel, Hotel Naturwald Furano, Dormy Inn Premium La Vista Furano Hills

Gulmarg Ski Resort – India

gulmarg ski resort india
This ski resort is located up at 8690 feet in the western Himalayas (© Isriya Paireepairit via Flickr)

Ranked as Asia’s 5th top ski destination, the Gulmarg Ski Resort is situated in India’s Kashmir region. Unmatched in its beauty and historical significance, Gulmarg captivates with its snow-clad mountains, lush cedar and pine forests. The resort offers a unique blend of thrilling winter sports activities, mesmerizing views, and the world’s highest ski lift at 3,980 meters. From professionally guided ski courses to backcountry tours, Gulmarg promises an unforgettable adventure.

When To Go: December to March
How To Get There: Fly to Delhi or Mumbai, then a connecting flight on to Srinagar (Indian Kashmir); Manali (Himachal Pradesh), or Dehradun (Uttarakhand) before taking a bus or taxi to the ski resorts.
Where To Stay: The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Hotel Royal Castle, Gulmarg Ski Hill Resort

Hakuba Valley – Japan

hakuba ski resort japan
Visitors can enjoy high-quality powder snow from 10 ski resorts in Hakuba Valley (© Hakuba Valley)

Hakuba Valley, located in the heart of the Japanese Alps, is a renowned ski resort that hosted the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. The resort is known for its abundant snowfall and offers 10 different venues for winter sports. It features a variety of slopes suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced skiers. On-site amenities include restaurants, bars, spas, and entertainment options. Ski schools and equipment rental services are readily available, making it a great getaway for the whole family. Hakuba is also celebrated for its stunning alpine scenery and long, enjoyable runs down the mountainside.

When To Go: December to March
How To Get There: Take a 4-hour flight to Tokyo, then take a train or bus to Hakuba
Where To Stay: Sierra Resort Hotel Hakuba, Courtyard by Marriott Hakuba, Hotel La Neige Honkan

Jisan Forest Resort – South Korea

jisan forest ski resort south korea
Jisan Forest Resort offers a range of family-friendly facilities (© Thrina Tham via Flickr)

Nestled in the dense forests of Icheon, Jisan Forest Resort is a family-friendly ski resort that opened its doors in 1996. Its proximity to Seoul (only 40 minutes away) makes it a popular choice for day trips. Offering slopes with inclines ranging from 5 to 30 degrees, it caters mainly to beginners while also accommodating seasoned skiers. The resort features seven beautiful lakes, restaurants, bars, and rental services for ski equipment.

When To Go: November to March
How To Get There: Hop on a 3.5-hour flight to Incheon, then take a bus or taxi to the Jisan Forest Ski Resort.
Where To Stay: Jisan Forest Resort, Eden Paradise Hotel, Days Hotel by Wyndham Dongtan

Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu Ski Resort– Japan

Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu Ski Resort Japan
Ski against Mount Yōtei as backdrop at Grand Hirafu ski resort (© Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu Ski Resort)

Niseko, which is made up of four interconnected resorts, averages around 14m of snow on its slopes a year and boasts some of the softest powder in the world. In the past 20 years, it has transformed from a Japanese secret to a big hitter rivaling Aspen, Whistler, or Courchevel. There are luxury hotels, condominiums, and world-class restaurants, accommodating a global clientele.

The Grand Hirafu ski resort is located in the town centre, and there are international ski schools for children aged three and upwards. It is also popular with seasoned skiers as the area is so vast there are plenty of opportunities to go off-piste and even dedicated guides to help you do so.

When To Go: December to April
How To Get There: Take a 5-hour flight to Sapporo, then take train or shuttle buses to Niseko. Alternatively, fly to Tokyo then take the bullet train and bus to Niseko.
Where To Stay: SKYE Niseko, Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei , Setsu Niseko

Shymbulak Mountain Resort – Kazakhstan

Shymbulak Mountain Ski Resort Kazakhstan
Shymbulak was a training base for Soviet skiers in the 50s, with many championships held here (© Shymbulak Mountain Resort)

Situated in the upper part of the Medeu Valley, Shymbulak Ski Resort is the largest ski area in Central Asia. With elevations ranging up to 3,200 meters, it offers 20 kilometers of slopes suitable for all skill levels. The resort features several restaurants and bars, a hotel, and a ski school for beginners.

When To Go: December to April
How To Get There: Fly to Almaty (10-12 hours with a layover), then take bus or drive to Shymbulak
Where To Stay: Shymbulak Resort Hotel, Tenir Eco Hotel, Qazaq Auyl Eco Hotel

Yabuli Ski Resort – China

yabuli ski resort china
Yabuli Ski Resort is the largest ski resort in China which features the country’s largest ski jumping facilities (©Yabuli Ski Resort)

Yabuli is one of China’s biggest ski resorts and is known for hosting several winter sports championships. It’s become increasingly popular with leisure skiers, with 9 intermediate- to advanced-level Alpine pistes, a 5-kilometre Nordic trail, ski jumps, and a short gentle slope for beginners. If you or your little ones are looking to learn, they have a partnership with the renowned Ecole du Ski Francais.

Tourists often combine a visit with a trip to the nearby city of Harbin, home of the famous Ice Festival. Travellers from Hong Kong will need to fly to Beijing before travelling onward – by plane or overnight train – to Harbin before arranging travel to the ski resorts.

When To Go: November to March
How To Get There: Take a 3-hour flight to Beijing, then travel by bus, train, or plane to Harbin.
Where To Stay: Club Med Yabuli, Yabuli Hot Spring Resort, Yabuli Sunshine Sports Hotel

Yongpyong Ski Resort – South Korea

yongpyong ski resort south korea
Yongpyong Ski Resort is where popular K-drama Winter Sonata filmed (© Travelling Runes via Flickr)

Yongpyong Resort is South Korea’s largest ski and snowboard resort, boasting 28 slopes of varying difficulty levels. It offers a range of amenities including restaurants, bars, a spa, and a golf course. Yongpyong is particularly renowned for its Rainbow Slopes, and the Dragon Peak offers stunning panoramic views. If you’re looking for a fun getaway with little ones, this place is family-friendly!

When To Go: November to April
How To Get There: Take a direct 3.5-hour flight from Seoul and take the shuttle bus (winter seasons only) or buses to the ski resort
Where To Stay: Dragon Valley Hotel, Holiday Inn & Suites Alpensia Pyeongchang, InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort

Header image credit: Changbaishan Wanda International Resort

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