万龙 Wan Long, a ski trip in China
Cold days are back in Beijing and this for a long period. It remembers me a story that I didn’t publish beginning of this year, our weekend trip to Wan Long to discover Chinese ski resort…
Winter in North China is amazingly cold but also favorable to practice one well-known activity for French, Swiss or Canadian, skiing. This sport is new in China but the country counts enough rich people for a potential development. Most popular ski resorts are located in North China, closed to the famous city of Harbin. Some small places have been opened in Beijing suburbs but most of them only contain one ski lift and 2/3 ski trails. It is good fun for an afternoon but no more…
We were able to find a bigger station, Wan Long or 1000 Dragons (4 hours by bus north of Beijing) through a local Chinese agency. It was more simpler to go with them as they take everything in charge: transport, hotel, ski equipment…
As scheduled, after less than 4 hours in the “death motorway” (people used the emergency line to pass buses and trucks), we reached our location for the weekend, Chongli. After short night in a nice hotel, we wake up early to reach the ski resort. The hours are bit different than what we know in Europe. The skiing domain opens at 8am and closed after 4pm (before the night fall).
The Ski resort is bit special. In fact, this is a big warehouse that they convert into multiple shops site. Everything is included in this warehouse: clothes shop, ski school, ski pass shop, equipment rental and even a big restaurant for lunch. You are also able to rent skiing clothes if you don’t have your owns.
First ski trail in China; the equipment is correct (the station is sponsored by Salomon) but clearly not adjusted. They gave us our skis following our shoes size and not our actual height and weight. The artificial snow is rock-hard and only the trails are white in the surroundings. We almost froze during our first day due to the low temperature. We had to make some short breaks every hour to be able to heat ourselves.
The second day was better as the sun was back and wind reduced. We were really few on our skis so we really enjoyed these days and rode down several times the ski trails.
Our way back to Beijing was incredibly calm as everybody was tired after these 2 days in fresh air.
Wan Long is still a small ski resort compared to our usual standards but people get a real interest for this sport. I was impressed by the good level of local skiers so I clearly believe that ski activity will grew fast in China. Several real estate projects have been started to build the new Chinese Courchevel or Gstaad.
More pictures from my GoPro are available on Flickr.