I never thought I would go snowboarding in China, but then again – as Justin Bieber taught us – never say never. Changbaishan is a mountain range in northern China, bordering with North Korea and it’s an amazing National Park that boasts incredible scenery, volcano hot springs and also a small ski area.
I stayed at the Hyatt Regency in White Mountain Resort, which is a fairly new hotel with lots of Western amenities including a ski rental service, great gym, pool, sauna and spa facilities as well as buffet restaurant and spacious, modern rooms. A very pleasant place to stay. The hotel’s own small hot outdoors pool faces the slopes and the first gondola is just a skip and a hop away.
The most important touristic spots are Tianchi – The Heavenly Lake and the Changbai Waterfall, which sits at the end of a small hiking path through natural hot springs.
The ski resort features a few lifts, however, I assume later in the year and early January will provide much more snow. Now at the end of November, there was very little real snow, but snow machines made the slopes accessible, albeit not all of them were open. Temperatures here tend to drop in the the double digit minus area, so make sure to bring plenty of layers.
I spent 4 days in total which was just the right amount of time to relax and enjoy clean air, fun snowboarding and home made Glühwein (hooray for water cooker McGyverism).
To get to Changbaishan you need to fly through Changchun, where you just need to get off the plane for around half an hour before re-boarding it on the way to and from Shanghai.
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