Nestled in the Himalayan Mountains with heavy snowfalls, the hidden gem of Gulmarg is a top destination for ski snobs. Other destinations in Japan, South Korea, China and even Mongolia will also be able to fulfill your thrill-seeking needs.
Gulmarg Ski Resort, Himalayas
Seasoned skiers have described Gulmarg as a powder-filled and unique experience. Home to the world’s highest operating cable car, the Gulmarg Gondola in Jammu and Kashmir ascends to a stunning altitude of 3,980 meters. Snowstorms along the western most part of the Himalayas provides consistent powder often lauded by visitors. With practically unlimited ski terrain – everything from off-piste backcountry to adrenaline-pumping runs – expect an exciting and raw experience.
Fees: Day pass at Rs 1,800 (for foreigners)
Kiroro Resort, Hokkaido, Japan
Kiroro snow world is a mountain valley resort that sits in an area of heavy snowfall. The resort features 21 runs to suit all skill levels and also has a seasonal “Powder Zone” that traverses from the summit of Mount Asari along the grand line. Kiroro utilises a modern lift system complemented with various facilities including a ski goods pro shop and seniors’ lounge.
Fees: Spring skiing all-day pass at ¥ 3,200
Yabuli Ski Resort, China
Yabuli is China’s biggest ski resort and also training ground for the country’s Olympic Ski Team. Receiving a snow period of 170 days, Yabuli played host to the 1996 Winter Asian Games and 2008 National Winter Games. Featuring a vertical drop of about 530 meters at Sun Mountain, various routes also cater to more intermediate and beginner skiers. Expert thrill seekers, however, should brave Gao Shan’s challenging drop. In addition, Club Med, which is also part of the resort, offers spa, jacuzzi, reflexology facilities and more.
Fees: Daily ski passes range from 480RMB to 680RMB
Yongpyong, South Korea
Yongpyong, winner of South Korea’s Best Ski Awards at the 2013 World Ski Awards, receives an average snowfall of thirty-seven days during winter and is also known as “Korea’s ski mecca”. The resort houses 31 diversely-groomed runs with its highest point measuring up to 1,458 meters. Visitors of Yongpyong own bragging rights to say that they’ve been on the same grounds as the uber famous Korean TV drama, “Winter Sonata” and in 2018, also the site of the Winter Olympics.
Fees: Daytime pass at ￦65,000
High 1 Resort, South Korea
High 1, located in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province, caters to the elementary, beginner and advanced levels. With runs quaintly named after Greek gods, the slopes here are lined with fences (as a precaution against the steep terrain) and covered with beautiful, puffy flake, with artificial powder laid on the ground, when necessary, to create optimal skiing conditions. Not to be missed during your visit is Dragon Peak, the resorts highest point at 1,458 metres, as well as the revolving restaurant located 1,340 meters above sea level. Another attractive feature of High 1 is Kangwon Land Casino, the only casino in which South Korean locals are allowed to play at.
Fees: Day pass range from ￦68,000 to ￦72,000
Appi Kogen Resort, Tohoku
Appi Kogen Resort, commonly referred to as Appi, is located at the same latitude as Austria’s Arlberg, and Aspen in the US. Appi has 21 trails over 282 hectares of ski area and the resort’s wide pistes and excellently groomed slopes make it an absolute joy. Advanced skiers cannot miss Hayabusa, a Japanese Ski Association certified slalom run. And, with most slopes facing north, snow tends to be more powdery and dry with less direct sunlight during the day.
Fees: 8-hour lift pass at 5,200 yen (free for ages 0-6)
Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
Niseko comprises four areas – Annupuri, Higashiyama, Grand Hirafu and Hanazono – and is often referred to as a “winter wonderland.” Catering to all levels and boasting powder you can only dream of, it’s no surprise that this popular winter destination was awarded Japan’s Best Ski Resort at the 2013 World Ski Awards. Visitors have described gliding through glistening woodlands as truly magical and Niseko also permits off-piste skiing and extensive night skiing.
Fees: Regular season 8-hour ticket at ¥ 5,300
Sky Resort, Mongolia
Mongolia is fast becoming a haven for winter sports, a new addition to the country’s tourist offerings. While temperatures drop well below freezing here, Sky relies on Italian engineered snow guns to pad the slopes, as it doesn’t receive much snowfall. The resort has nine trails, with a larger percentage of them targeted at beginners. The longest trail – Zaisan – runs 1.07 km. Advanced skiers can look to push down Khurkhereet slope – the most challenging trail here that’s serviced by two chair lifts, two drag lifts and three moving carpets. Other facilities at Sky Resort include Mongolia’s first-ever 100 percent grass golf course.
Fees: Full-day lift range from 16,600 to 21,000 Mongolian Tugrik
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