China Ski Tips – Altai, Kanas Hemu, Koktokay of North Xinjiang (Powder Snow Heaven from Oct to June)

Looking for a unique skiing/ snowboarding experience in China?

North of Xinjiang is where you want to go.

Yekaxia, Altai, Hemu Powder Park, and Koktokay powder snow area to trace the champagne powder snow…

Koktokay Ski Resort – a huge ski resort made up of 44 ski slopes, modern facilities, and a giant powder snow area.

Not to mention the special culture and stunning natural view of Xinjiang, and extra long ski period (from Oct to June).

In this article, we are going to talk about everything you want to know about powder snow skiing in China!

Why You Should Trust Me?

Hello, my name is Lorraine and I am running a multi language ski and snowboarding school in Guangzhou indoor ski resort. I am a dual Canadian system certified ski and snowboard instructor and I am from Hong Kong, a place you can consider of East meet West.

I used to teach in Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan so I can get what an ex-pat needs, what you need for a ski trip holiday. I’ve been skiing and snowboarding in different resorts in Xinjiang, and I know the area pretty well.

In this article, I will share with you what you need to know about chasing the finest powder snow in Northern Xinjiang!

Best Skiing Experience in China – Altai, Hemu and Koktokay (North Xinjiang Area, Powder Snow Heaven)

It would be easiest to explain the whole Northern Xinjiang ski resort and powder snow park by the following drawing:

Best Skiing Experience in China – Powder Snow Heaven Altai, Kanas, Kyktokay

Northern Xinjiang Altay Area Skiing – Altai, Yekaxiz Powder Park, General’s Mountain Ski Resort

Altai Powder Snow Park

Altai powder snow park is the oldest powder snow park within the northern Xinjiang area, it’s also the first ski resort to offer heliski service. If you heard someone is going to the “powder snow park”? that’s Altai powder snow park. Our partner, SSWBoardHouse has picked Altai Powder Snow Park as one of the best ski resorts in China.

There is no chair lift in Altai powder snow park, skiers and snowboarders will need to rely on snowmobiles, snowcats, or helicopters to bring them to the top of the mountain for riding down.

Riders who would like to go to Altai are required to apply for a special permit because it is among the China-Russian border.

This is what you have to do for applying for the special permit:

  • Arrive in Altai city and check-in at a hotel (for all foreigners, Hong Kong and Macau citizen, you will have to stay in specific hotels that allow foreigners to stay), better arrive early in Altai city, or else you will have to go the day after
  • Send the check-in proof to the agent so they can apply for the special permit for you, it usually takes one business to proceed, during the free day you may want to go for a warm-up run in the general’s mountain ski resort located only 10 mins by taxi to the city
  • Next day the SUV will pick you up at the hotel and send you to the Altai Powder Snow Park
  • Spend your day enjoying the powder snow, then go back to the city

Looking for more information regarding Altai Powder Snow Park? Check my article “Altai Powder Snow Park, Xinjiang – Where you can find Powder Snow in China from October to June“. I shared my first experience going to Altai powder snow park and General’s mountain ski resort in that article, hope it helps!

General’s Mountain Ski Resort

Altai General’s Mountain Ski Resort, Northern Xinjiang, China

General’s mountain is a ski resort located really close to Altai city, probably around 10 mins by taxi. This is a ski resort suitable for beginners to learn or advanced skiers for a warm-up run before heading to the Altai Powder Snow Park or Yekaxia Powder Snow Park.

This is a proper ski resort and yes! There are chairlifts! yay!

I do enjoy riding in General’s Mountain on the day I need to wait for my permit.

If you are going with beginner skiers or snowboarders, I would say just leave them in the General’s Mountain ski resort and practice + learn first, until they are good enough to enjoy the deep powder snow, head to Altai or Yekaxia Powder Snow Park.

Yekaxia Powder Snow Park

Yekaxia Powder Snow Park, Northern Xinjiang, China

Yekaxia powder is pretty much like a copy of the Altai Powder Snow Park, just takes a bit longer to reach the Yekaxia powder snow park (2 hours to 2 hours 30 mins) than Altai powder snow park (1 hour 45 mins to 2 hours)

Just opened in 2020, you also need to apply for a special permit to enter the Yekaxia Powder Snow Park.

Northern Xinjiang Kanas Area Skiing – Hemu Powder Snow Park

Hemu Powder Snow Park, Kanas Area, Northern Xinjiang, China

The best part about the Hemu powder snow park is, no permit is required and Kanas is one of the most beautiful areas in China. I am in love with this beautiful area. This is how people describe Kanas as “The garden of GOD”.

There are no chair lifts in Hemu Powder Snow Park, which I think is a great thing, just because the view of nature is so beautiful that You don’t want to add anything to it (such as a chair lift system, lol).

Skiers and Snowboarders will have to rely on snowmobiles, snowcats, and helicopters to take you to the mountain so you can start skiing.

The best part about Hemu is, riders will stay at Hemu village, and that’s just around 9km away from the skiing area. Since Kanas is a popular sightseeing spot in other seasons, the accommodation is much better than those inside the Altai and Yekaxia Powder Park.

The downside of Kanas Hemu Powder Snow Park is the skiing period is shorter than Altai and Yekatai powder snow park, like this year, probably the Hemu powder park will open by end of December, while Altai and Yekaxia powder parks have been running since Mid October.

Northern Xinjiang Fuyun Skiing – Koktokay Ski Resort

Koktokay Ski Resort, Fuyun Area, Northern Xinjiang, China

Koktokay Ski Resort is located in the Fuyun area of Xinjiang, comparing with other ski resorts in China, you can imagine comparing a European ski resort (Koktokay) with a Chinese ski resort.

This is how we describe Koktokay ski resort: “champagne powder snow + high-quality ski slopes + extra large off-piste area + high-speed ski lift”
Koktokay ski resort is a relatively new developed ski resort, with a max no of 44 ski slopes, including 3 signature ski slopes, such as:

  1. a 9.5km ski slope, 1200m high difference
  2. a downhill slope fits the standard of international downhill skiing competition
  3. the steepest slope in China, around 35 degrees on average

2020-2021 season there will be 3 high-speed gondolas running and 20 slopes will be opened.

I do like Koktokay ski resort, coz the quality of accommodation is pretty nice, probably the nicest among all the ski accommodation in the Northern Xinjiang area.

Tips for Skiing/ Snowboarding in Northern Xinjiang

  • Only Altai powder snow park and Yekaxia powder snow part will require a special permit to enter
  • Depending on the Covid situation/ political situation, the Chinese government will stop people from entering Altai and Yekaxia powder snow park.
  • If you asked a local tour guide and they told you that you cant enter? Drop me a message first – probably they are just not understanding the situations for ex-pats or people from Hong Kong and Macau so just simply say “NO”
  • English is not so popular in that area, I do suggest you hide an English speaking guide
  • Noodles in Northern Xinjiang are super duper yummy and make sure you try them!
  • Lunch in Altai/ Yekaxia areas… honestly not tasty at all but that’s something hot. Bring some food by yourself lol.

Final Words

I hope you found this article useful for preparing your China ski trips and for sure, enjoy Northern Xinjiang as I do. Below is my contact details:

What’s app: +852 6517 6898, +852 9449 9919

Wechat ID: Itslorrainelam, or just simply scan this QR code:

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