Beidahu - Long a favorite for steep slopes, now with expanded intemediate terrain for the whole family
Gondola Mountain see from top of Trail 2
Beidahuis the original large ski area in Jilin Province and at 800m+ has the highest operating vertical drop of any resort in China. When taken over by the current owners, the number of trails were long but limited. Since then, new trails have been added each year. Beidahu's original steep trails made it a favorite for ski team training if a bit intimidating for the true intermediate skier. Recognizing the need for more intermediate terrain, a large portion of the new trails have been built to cure this shortcoming and make Beidahu a strong contender for one of the top resorts in China.
2013-14 Season Trail Map
Beidahu operates on two mountains and the valley in between. Although the maximum vertical is 900+m, generally only about 800m are open due to limited snow making on top. The front mountain features generally intermediate terrain and is served by a multi chair lift system that gives you the choice of the lower half wide open terrain or the steeper trail terrain on top. The right hand mountain features steeper terrain and is served by a single gondola that has a mid mountain station accessing the intermediate portions of the mountain. Trails down from the top have at least portions that would be very intimidating to most intermediates. How well these mogul up is unclear as the amount of natural snow prior to our visit was limited. However, most steeper terrain features a ridge on the edge of the trail that functions sort of like moguls for those who need their bumps. All the lifts are new, mostly Dopplemeyer. There were zero waiting lines.
Current Front Mountain Main Trails
Trail from Top of Gondola
New Qiaoshan Beidahu Hotel
Lodging at Beidahu is all at the base of the mountain. TheAsian Games Village is the original 200 room hotel. (Mid-week the rooms start about RMB388/night all in with Breakfast). The new "5-Star"Resort hotel opened last year with higher rates starting at RMB988 but a much nicer hotel. Recent Rossignol and Salomon shaped skis are standard in the rentals as are Rossignol and other brand name boots.Lift ticketsare about RMB480 for full use of the mountain on weekends (RMB380 weekdays) and equipment, including clothing runs about another RMB140. Multi-day prices are significantly discounted. Expect prices to be higher for the peak holiday periods.
Dining on property is limited to the hotels' dining rooms for all meals. Breakfast was Chinese style, lunch ran about 25RMB/person for a buffet of Chinese dishes and dinner was a full choice menu. Food was actually pretty good. If you can find a jitney, there is also a small group of local restaurants about 2-3 km down the road to Jilin for the adventurous eater.
Main Lodge Restuarant
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Beidahu is a good example of the challenges that face a large destination ski resort in regions of China not associated with a major city. Massive up front investments, years of subsidizing losses to maintain a high class full mountain facility while the client base builds and delays in needed financings all create a high level of financial uncertainty. A potential 2006 partnership with the North American ski resort giant Intrawest, followed by a failed sale to Melco China Resorts in 2008 kept this promising top level ski resort from reaching its potential and forced it into a reduced operations mode while it sought a plan that would assure its future. Large scale plans by the Jilin government for tourism and a sports based industrial park surround the ski resort with further promise, and are moving beyond the planning stage. In 2009 the resort was taken over by the Qiaoshan Group who have laid out an aggressive 10 year development program commencing last year with a new 5 star hotel opening last winter to give Beidahu, for now, the largest number of slope-side rooms at any resort in China. With massive trail expansion, a new base village, new hotels, condos, golf courses (45 holes) and shopping, Beidahu is aimed to join the ranks of the China large scale vacation destination resorts.
3 Year trail development plan
10 Year Master Plan for Beidahu Valley
Getting to Beidahu is about 5 hours from Shanghai (4 from Beijing) by way of a flight to Changchun and then either a 1 1/2 hours cab ride (for about RMB350-400, negotiated) to the mountain or the new high speed train to Jilin (20-26RMB, 25 minutes) and a 45 min cab ride (200RMB, negotiated) to the mountain. which one is actually faster depends on how well your flight connects with the train. The new LongJia train station is just a short walk across the parking lot from the airport. The resort does run a free bus between Jilin and Beidahu, but it does not stop at the train station so connecting with it is not the easiest to arrange.
For Shanghai based skiers/boarders, it really is now practical to consider a weekend trip to Beidahu