China to open first luxury ski resort; set to rival the Alps

BEIJING: China is set to open its first luxury, world-class ski resort complex, which local officials say will rival the skiing conditions of the Alps.

Set to open in the city of Baishan in northeast China’s Jilin province, the resort aims to become a high-end ski destination which, when complete, will feature more than 20 ski resorts, an indoor skating center, 50 outdoor rinks, 12 snow-ice tourist towns and 10 tourism villages that will include more than 50,000 beds. The new additions are scheduled to open over the next three years, with the goal of attracting three million tourists a year.

Already popular with local ski bunnies, the Changbai Mountains in Baishan city have a forest coverage rate of 84 percent and are China’s first full-range forest tourism area. With a long winter, high-quality snow, and an average annual snowfall of 400mm, the area rivals the ski conditions of the Alps, claim city officials. Changbai Mountains are already home to starred hotels and professional-grade ski facilities, including the Changbai Mountains International Holiday Resort and Changbaishan Luneng Resort which opened last winter.

This year, the Baishan government has pledged to invest more than 60 billion yuan (US $9.2 billion) in 44 tourism projects that will further develop the area as a world-class ski destination. The area is also home to hot springs, a national park forest, a snow village, and a log cabin village, and attracts visitors for its local folk customs, drifting, hunting and local cuisine.