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Japan Leads the way

As winter hits the northern hemisphere there are ski resorts around the world attracting downhill adventure lovers. While many people think of the United States, Canada or Europe when it comes to the best in downhill skiing, Asia has a nice variety of top resorts that can offer all the thrills that skiers and snowboarders could want.

Hakuba Japan

Hakuba was the location for many of the events during the Nagano Olympics. It is on the main island of Honshu. It is a small village but it has several very good ski resorts to tempt skiers of every skill level. This resort is located in the shadow of the Japanese Alps and is very popular with Japanese as well as International tourists.

Hakuba Goryu offers trails for all levels of skiers, the slopes are 35% beginner friendly with 25% being deemed for experts. That leaves the remaining 40% for the intermediate downhiller. This resort offers a variety of lifts as well with gondolas for eight as well as quad and double lifts. There are 16 trails open to skiers and snowboarders and there are some great wide gentle runs for beginners and families.

Hakuba 47 is a good resort to combine with Hakuba Goryu since your multi day tickets are good at both resorts. This resort also offers a wide variety of trails from beginner to expert and also has a huge mogul field for those who enjoy skiing moguls. Beware of the local Japanese, who are particularly strong in this area. There are some very long and fast runs that have earned two black diamonds for those who enjoy a challenge.

Off course skiing is prohibited at both of these resorts and the prohibition is enforced. Skiers who prefer to go where no one else has skied would be wise to choose another resort.

Xiling China

When it comes to ski resorts with spectacular alpine scenery, there are few in the world that can surpass Xiling in the Sichuan Province. It is conveniently located within easy reach from Chengdu. There are 7 trails of varying difficulty that will appeal to skiers of every level of expertise. One of the trails is over a mile long. There are a variety of other winter sports that are available at this resort. The ski season is long here lasting from November through March. There is an almost mile and a half gondola ride as well as a toboggan run and ski-doo rentals. In the warm months grass skiing is a unique and very popular pastime.

Yabuli China

Yabuli is the largest ski resort in China. It is located in Heilongjiang Province. It is built to international standards and has been the site of the Asian Winter Games. There are two distinctive ski areas at the resort; one is the competitive area and the other the leisure. The altitude of the competitive area is much higher than the leisure but both offer a great overall experience. . The resort is good for all levels of skier and their location guarantees a long ski season. Time Magazine called Yabuli “Asia’s most progressive resort”.

Gulmarg India

As the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas offer a unique experience for those lucky enough to be able to ski them. Due to its location in the in the Pin Panjals, Gulmarg on Mount Apharwhat is one of the first areas hit by any storms and this helps with the amount of snow that they receive. It also means that they are often closed for weather related reasons. The gondola at the resort rises from the lodge to an altitude of over 13,000 feet. It is almost a mile from the top of the ski trails to the lodge. There is an interim stop for those who prefer not to ski the entire length. The beginner area is not services by the gondola. This area is still in its infancy as a ski area but shows great potential.

These are just a few of the many ski areas that Asia has to offer. It is a large continent and not all of it is tropical.