Although skiing has only relatively recently caught on in Asia, there are now hundreds of resorts across the region, from the main islands of Japan across to China, India, and Uzbekistan. Japan has the pick of the bunch with scores of resorts, hundreds of quality pistes and a long ski season.
Hakuba Valley, Japan With its accessibility and sheer number of decent pistes, Hakuba is one of the best ski resorts in Japan, and Asia for that matter. There are 200 runs across 10 resorts here culminating in over 30kms of skiing, while après-ski and accommodation are also excellent. Hakuba Valley is easy to get to from Tokyo by Bullet Train (Shinkansen) and also has good road access.
Shiga Kogen, Japan Also located on Japan’s main island of Honshu and close to Nagano, Shiga Kogen is a huge collection of ski resorts that are linked by a common lift system. There are actually more than 20 ski resorts here, with Yakebitaiyama being one of the best and Ichinose offering ski-in, ski-out hotels. A popular side attraction is the Japanese snow monkeys at Jigokudani hot springs.
Niseko, Japan Located on Hokkaido Island, Niseko is a very popular ski resort, especially with Australians, who come for its huge range of runs, the reliable snow and the excellent facilities. Deep powder, tough pistes and great snowboarding are the plusses of Niseko, while its relative remoteness often requires a separate flight and is its main minus.
Yong Pyong, South Korea Yong Pyong is South Korea’s best ski resort and the first resort to be established in the country. It has dozens of quality pistes that are best suited to intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders and also boasts night skiing and cross-country skiing. Yong Pyong is located in Kangwon-do and has good access.
Yabuli, China China’s Yabuli ski resort has the best skiing in all of China with the best facilities and most reliable snow. Yabuli is located in Shangzhi City and features a near four-kilometer long downhill as its main piste. Getting here is made easy by the regular trains to Harbin, from where buses run to the resort.
Auli, India Situated in the Garhwal hills of Uttar Pradesh within earshot of the Himalayan Mountains, Auli goes over Mana, Nanda Devi, and Kame mountains and is one of the most popular ski resorts in India. Auli suits all levels from beginners to advanced level and has almost perfect snow. Ski festivals towards the end of the season are a popular byproduct of Auli.
Tien-Shan, Uzbekistan Not far from the capital of Uzbekistan (Tashkent), Tien-Shan ski resort, situated in the Ugam, Pskem and Chatkal ranges at 2,500m to 4,200m, features pistes up to 10kms in length. The overriding factors of Uzbekistan’s top ski resort are perfect snow, good weather and inexpensive prices.
Appi Kogen, Japan Appi Kogen has dozens of good pistes which mainly appeal to intermediate skiers. Much of the skiing is quite low altitude meaning snow reliability often leads to a short ski season although access is easier. Appi Kogen also boasts a state-of-the-art lift system, good facilities and a busy après-ski.
Hakusan Ichirino Another of Japan’s myriad ski resorts, Hakusan Ichirino is popular due to its relative proximity to Tokyo and comes with 13 pistes and a good lift system. The other main draw is that Hakusan offers excellent night skiing and the après-ski is pretty good to boot. Bullet trains run to Kanazawa from where buses run to the resort.
Iwappara, Japan This popular resort is good for beginner skiers and snowboarders with its shallow slopes and in particular its wide open main run. Iwappara was one of the first resorts to appear in the popular town of Yuzawa and also features magnificent vistas of Tanigawa-dake and the surrounding valley.