Japan, South Korea, China, and other Asian countries are breaking into more and more of the traditionally Western-dominated market for winter sports.
As skiing and snowboarding continue to grow in popularity, even during the Pandemic, and all of these countries grow in population, new resorts are springing up everywhere, and older ones are being continuously upgraded. Here, in no particular order, are five of the best to check out next time you need a powder fix:
With great weather, lifts open 12 hours a day, and some of the best powder in the country, Niseko is top of the food chain. I recently visited Niseko for a skiing holiday wth my wife, after first checking out the Snow Monkeys in Japan, then making our way north to Niseko.
Its size gives it great variety, from low-altitude tree runs that escape even the worst weather, to huge powder fields just a 20-minute hike from the top to pleasant groomers of all difficulty levels. Niseko also has some of the best night skiing in Japan, and its accommodations and restaurants are all rated very highly.
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Muju Ski Resort
Quickly becoming one of South Korea’s most popular destinations, this extensive resort within Mt Deogyo National Park has several things going for it. The first is its most famous run, The Silk Road. Stretching 6.1 km and starting at a very high altitude, it genuinely feels like a glide through the clouds. The other unique draw at Muju is the outdoor hot springs at the bottom. What could be better than that?
Alshan Alpine Ski Resort
Situated as it is high above the border with Mongolia, this gem of a ski mountain is remote, to say the least. That’s part of its charm—the sense of ruggedness and escape from the frantic pace of life in urban China. Steep runs, ancient forests, and a remarkable system of cross-country skiing conspire to make this one of the best spots off the beaten path.
High 1 Resort
Another South Korean favorite, High 1 is appropriately named as all of its runs begin at the summit, 1345 m up. It is also notable for its excellent accommodations and its quality of service for the disabled. Expect fluffy, natural snow, and relatively reasonable prices.
Gulmarg Ski Resort
Consistently rated as one of the best resorts in the Himalayas, Gulmarg holds a special place in the hearts of many. This Kashmiri resort is home to one of the world’s highest and longest gondolas, which can be exhilarating in itself but also features some insane powder. The area is beautiful and relatively undeveloped, and the snowboarding scene here is especially friendly. Making trails in fresh snow on a Himalayan mountain is definitely a bucket list activity.
Who’s ready for winter?
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