Yabuli, located halfway between Harbin and Mudanjiang in China's northernmost province Heilongjiang (formerly know as Manchuria) is the home of China's first destination resort and has expanded into China's first ski town with multiple resorts on 3 mountains with a selection of 2 star to 5 star hotels along a main access road. The two large ski areas are Yabuli Sun Mountain and Yabui Ski Resort. A third small ski area, Avaunce, offers beginner terrain on a smaller hill. A final third large mountain is still only used by the Chinese national Ski Team but is slated for future development into a 3rd large ski area with advanced terrain.
Accomodations start in the 350 RMB range in the old Windmill Inn (part of YabuliSunMountain and recently renovated) and smaller hotels like the ChunBaijiTuan and ShanZhuang that cater primarily to Tour groups. The new ClubMed Yabuli, Sun Mountain Lodge, Sun Mountain Hotel, the International Broadcast Center and Avaunce Resort establish the upper end with rooms on the 1200 - 2000 RMB range.
The other attraction of Yabuli is its proximity to Harbin and the annual Ice and Snow Festivals held from late December through late February. Since most visitors will travel to and from Yabuli through Harbin, adding an extra day or two onto a trip for these is well worth the time.
Yabuli Sun Mountain Lodge
Sun Mountain and Yabuli Ski Resort behind Avaunce Ski Resort
Yabuli Train Station
Getting to Yabuli has several options. Flights from Beijing to Harbin are frequent and usually inexpensive during the winter other than Spring Festival. There are also a few flights into Mudanjiang, about 100km closer to Yabuli than Harbin. From either city you can take a train (3 hours from Harbin, 1 1/2 from Mudanjiang), have the resort van pick you up at the airport (expensive at 1000-1500 RMB each way unless you have a full load of people) or hire a cab direct from the airport (about 800 RMB each way). Another alternative is to take an overnight train from Beijing all the way to Yabuli or to one of the aforementioned cities and then another coach train from there. From the Yabuli train station, resort vans or cabs can be arranged for 60 -200 RMB each way.
If you can arrange your travel to and from Harbin accordingly, a good option is the once a day ski train (K7011/12) from Harbin directly to a new special train station (Yabulinan) that is located next to the entrance to the resort area. The train leaves Harbin station at 7:46 AM arriving about 10:30 and returns at 4:50 PM arriving Harbin about 7:30. It is the only place in China where you can see groups of Chinese skiers with equipment and ski clothes moving through a train station and is a very comfortable train compared to most of the other Harbin/Yabuli trains.