Skiing China 6: Happy Days in Beidahu
There’s not a lot to Beidahu: two hotels, some half-built condos, and a ski centre, an hour and a half’s drive from the centre of Jilin city.
But we don’t need a lot. And, thanks to this wonderful offer, we have a room in a Chinese five-star hotel.
With bath robes, slippers, a tub, a fake log fire, views over the slopes, a bar with Western spirits and a restaurant with a Western-Chinese breakfast.
And… there’s a ski park!
A U-pipe, followed by a great long series of bigger jumps and little jumps, which Zac descends with brio — and only wipes out once!
There’s a cafe on the mountain top, itself a winter wonderland in the fresh, soft, late March snow.
There are a welter of runs, for skiers of all persuasions, many of them almost deserted, some of them pleasingly fast.
Though I’m not entirely sure that an ungroomed – indeed ungroomable – gully through trees and over bumps is exactly what most nations would class as an intermediate ski slope, Zac nails it.
I don’t. But I do make it down in one piece.
It’s wonderful, Beidahu – or maybe we’re just lucky with the weather.
Everything’s open, the snow is fresh, there’s barely a lift queue, and though Beidahu lacks the high mountain scenery I love in the Alps, or the splendid isolation of our last day at Yabuli Sun Mountain, the skiing is pretty darn cool.
My little adventure down a “powder run” – the Chinese version of off-piste, and some way above my capabilities – ends in a long walk back through the trees with some boarders from Changchun, and Zac never quite gets to ride the T-bar lift…
But, as we bus it back to Jilin to spend the night before our train back home, we are, both of us, glowing and happy.
Sore thighs and all.