Our original plan was visiting Nanshan Ski Resort on an organised tour, the simple option which we were very close to booking. It wasn’t until last minute browsing where we find that Nanshan Ski Resort is simple to reach independently. Instead of booking the tour we go it alone and save a hell of a lot of money, literally hundreds of dollars. The organised tour was roughly $150 pp while our route, travelling independently, cost roughly $33 pp. This included 4 hours ski / snowboard hire, ski clothes rental, entrance fee and two-way bus journey.
Nanshan Shuttle Bus
With the organised tour you are more or less paying hundreds of dollars for a driver to take you there and maybe wait. Crazy? So the only major difference between the two is the Private Air-Conditioned Car which when travelling independently is replaced by the Nanshan Shuttle bus. Travelling by shuttle bus means getting up earlier and trekking to the subway station. Not hard. Nanshan Shuttle Buses leave Beijing every morning at 08.30 returning in the evening at 16.15 or 17.30. Our bus leaves from Wudaokou Subway Station, Exit B, go left, take the first street left, the buses found on the left side of the road. In short; just keep left for about a 2 minute walk. This looked to be the easiest bus to reach but there are others. For two of us it costs 90 Yuan including entrance fee to Nanshan Ski Resort and two-way bus journey (cheaper than expected). Individual prices are quoted at 40 Yuan for return bus ticket and 20 Yuan Entrance (we somehow saved 30 Yuan here). It is best (and apparently cheaper) to book in advance as we did with a quick (and muddled) Skype call the night before (01089091909).
Ticket Windows at Nanshan Ski Resort
Arriving by bus I suggest to be quick off and go direct to the ticket windows (otherwise you’ll have a bus length queue in front of you). The ticket windows, after entrance, are on the left (shown as below) and is the first stop to get your Ski Card and ski credit. Most people will go to the reserved window which is for those who booked in advance over the phone. Choose how many hours you plan on skiing, add a deposit, pay cash and get a card in return. This card is used to rent the equipment inside the building. We pay in 1000 Yuan for two of us (500 per person) and receive 685 Yuan back when returning the card after skiing. Therefore our final spending is 315 Yuan (158 Yuan per person) which includes 4 hour ski / snowboard hire, ski clothes rental (top and bottom), gloves and locker. Four hours skiing for US$26 is a bargain.
Ski Rental and Lockers
Next go direct from the Ticket Window to the ski rental and locker rooms next door. Walk to the counters, choose your equipment, pay with the card, put valuables in locker, get ready, go ski. On our visit we choose opposite; myself with the snowboard and Fanfan with skis. Both the same price.
As ‘total noobs’ (first time for both) we don’t go further than the beginners slopes which are found directly next to the locker rooms meaning there’s no need to clump about in your ski boots for long. Unfortunately the ski and snowboarding slopes are separated so myself and Fanfan could only ski one at a time (or split up). If you don’t fancy learning by yourself try the Ski Instructors loitering in the locker area, 2 hour lessons cost 200 Yuan+. We go it alone. As a former skateboarder I pull big airs on the beginner slope then fall flat on my face when I try move forward (balance of a 70 yo). Fanfan poses for photos with her skis. Fun.
Ski Resort Restaurants
After skiing we skip on the other fun stuff and instead eat food and drink beer. There’s a slightly odd set up for the outside restaurants, first you queue to buy coupons for your chosen food, then you go order your chosen food at the food counter, paying with the coupon. Thankfully they don’t throw the boot in with pricing and 35 Yuan gets a big, hearty bowl (below) of pork rib noodle soup. The food at Nanshan Ski Resort is surprisingly good. There is also a barbecue option with Kebabs and Sweet Corn and elsewhere a cafe or two.
Nanshan to Beijing
Travelling independently means you are there all day. The earliest bus leaves Nanshan Ski Resort at 16.15 bringing you to Beijing just in time for rush hour. Fortunately Beijing rush hours aren’t so bad (we live in Bangkok) and we arrive not long after 17.30. Drop-off is at the same location as pickup next to Wudaokou Subway Station.