Yabuli Ski Resort is also known as Yabuli Windmill Mountain Resort. Located in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, Yabuli used to be the royal hunting ground in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1912). It is the oldest resort in China and has Central Asia's longest toboggan run at 5 km. At 3 km, Yabuli also has the longest ski run in the country. The area was granted National Park status in 1993.
Yabuli Ski Resort contains a resort hotel, villas, retail and ski rental shops, souvenir stores, a youth hostel and snack bars. Yabuli's architecture gives a feel of a resort that is as comfortable and sturdily elegant as the finest mountain village with all of the modern efficiency. The wooden windmills, the fireplaces and the primitive building materials create a cozy and nostalgic atmosphere. Yabuli Windmill Resort Hotel has three heating system: a hot water central heating system, central air conditioning and fire-places, let alone other well-equipped facilities, such as saunas and entertainment centers.
Villas scattered around the snow-capped valley of Yabuli surround the warm and hospitable three-star Windmill Inn. The Windmill Villas are built in the style of windmills from the Netherlands and France. Standing in the square in front of the Windmill Inn, tourists can see the beginner’s run. The only run open at night in the resort can be found near the village’s ski equipment shop, although it has changed and is no longer completely open to skiers. An exhausting draglift has replaced the chair lift, which sends skiers onto a 400-meter-long section of the 1,755-meter-long run. As ski techniques improve, the slopes inevitably lose their danger and once dangerous challenges become too gentle and easy. At present, there are 12 runs, which are 30 kilometers long and three two-person chair lifts. Tourists can try different runs on top of San Guokui Peak. Skiers have to live in hope that fresh snow does not fall during the holiday, when new powder being blown about by the wind forms clouds of snow, making visibility difficult. In the next few years, all run on the three peaks of Yabuli will be joined in a network so that skiers can spend a week there enjoying the different runs. Some of the valleys runs will be turned into a golf course in the warmer seasons of the year to attract people to Yabului all year round. Ski shops, souvenir shops, restaurants and boutiques will be built in the valley. Yabuli will be turned into a ski town. A 15-minute ride on the chair lift takes skiers up the San Guokui Peak, more than 1,000 meters high. A ski shop and café stand on the peak surrounded by dense forests of pine and birch trees. The top slope is longer and steeper than the beginner’s slope and it is possible to descend the peak on the resort’s summer toboggan run, which was completed in 1997. Built with equipment imported from Germany, the 2,680-meter-long stainless steel run snakes through the forests and drops 570 meters from the peak to the foot of the mountain, with 48 turns. It is probably not the longest summer toboggan run of the world, but it is certainly long, steep and slippery enough to give an intoxicating ride. In the sunshine, the San Guokui Peak gives a charming alpine world of snow and forests against a brilliant blue sky, with spectacular vistas. Coming down, there is nothing like the sound of skis hissing their way along unbroken trails, or the exhilaration of the clear but biting air.
Yabuli hosted the 1996 Winter Asian Games, the 2008 National Winter Games and the 2009 Winter Universiade. The resort was undergoing major renovations in the 2008/2009 winter season. A new 4 seater Doppelmayr chairlift has been installed, along with a 6 seater gondola. Existing lifts consist of single chairlift, double chairlifts and poma's. 3 new on-snow hotels/lodges are being constructed and should be open by mid-January 2009.
Travel Tips for Yabuli Ski Resort
1. The mean temperature of Yabuli is -10℃ all the year. In winter its minimum temperature can reach -44℃. If you go there be sure to keep warm at anytime.
2. The snow conditions at Yabuli are excellent and the ski season lasts as long as 150 days. The best time to enjoy skiing in Yabuli is November, December, January, February and March.
3. Be safety-conscious! your personal effects, health, especially take care when you're skiing or snowboarding (read our TIPS FOR SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING IN HARBIN).
How to Get Yabuli Ski Resort
1) Getting there by flight and train
Flights from Beijing or Shanghai 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 (N11/12) 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 7:48 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. Some other trains to/from Yabuli: 1) K7047 Harbin - Yabulinan 07:34-10:43; 2) 7048 Yabulinan - Harbin16:15-19:31
2) Getting there by Bus/coach
It takes about 3hrs to Yabuli from Harbin by bus. At Long Yun Ke Yun Zhan (Longyun Passenger Station), opposite Harbin Train Station you can find 5 buses a day run to Yabuli Town.