Skiing In Asia

Skiing In Asia: Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on March 24, 2021 by James

Skiing in Asia has gone from strength to strength.

Evidence of this has been solidified with the awarding of two consecutive Winter Olympics’ to Asian nations (South Korea 2018 and China 2022).

The spotlight is naturally being turned on the Asian ski scene. However, it still remains a place of mystery for many.

Here, we will shed some light on all things skiing in Asia. Based on a combination of fact and experience, we are here to guide you through the ski scene in Asia.

Skiing In Asia
Let’s Talk About Skiing In Asia!

Which Countries Offer Skiing In Asia?

Asia is the world’s largest continent and is home to more than 4 billion people. The demand for skiing within this large population is increasing, and countries are striving to meet the sport’s popularity.

Almost half of Asia’s 48 countries now have at least one ski resort. Share on X

When questioned, many seasoned skiers from across the globe will only be able to name a handful of Asian skiing nations. However, ski infrastructure has vastly improved across the continent with more countries than ever offering ski resort options.

Here, we will go through every skiing nation in Asia and analyse what they have to offer.

Map Of Asia
Asia Is The Worlds Biggest Continent

Azerbaijan

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 2
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Tufandagh Mountain Resort

Skiing is a relatively new sport in Azerbaijan. However, they are actively looking to grow their ski industry with the aim of lowering their reliance on oil.

This investment into ski tourism has lead to the development of high-level ski facilities. Both of Azerbaijan’s ski resorts include new lift systems, 4/5 star hotels and a range of shops and restaurants.

Although skiing in Azerbaijan is still in its infancy, it’s certainly looking to make a big impact on the Asian ski market.

Skiing In Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan Has High Hopes For Skiing! (Photo: President Ilham Aliyev)

China

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 770
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Yabuli Ski Resort

China is a nation that has got many people talking about skiing in Asia. It has a huge landmass, huge population and is seeing huge growth in its ski industry.

China is officially home to the most ski resorts in Asia. Although attention is only focussed around a small number of the most developed resorts, there has been a huge push to improve and expand resorts.

China is hoping to become one of the worlds biggest ski nations. If you are talking about skiing in Asia, China is certain to be near the top of your list.

Click here to read our ultimate guide to skiing in China!

India

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 22
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Gulmarg Resort

India is not best known for its ski slopes. In fact it is often associated with hot temperatures!

Skiing in India mainly centres on a handful of ski resorts, of which Gulmarg is the most developed and accessible.

Although India is not considered the most accessible ski destination, it does attract a select group of expert skiers. With the ski resorts benefitting from the height of the Himalayas, it has become a ‘bucket list’ powder skiing destination for many adventure lovers.

Skiing In India
India Is Not The Easiest Ski Location To Access, But It’s Certainly Interesting

Iran

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 32
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Dizin Ski Resort

Skiing started in Iran during the 1930’s. However, it’s only in recent times that it has started to gain the attention of people outside of the country.

Figures show that Iran has over 30 ski resorts, but only a handful of these have the infrastructure to be relevant across the Asian ski market.

Although the ski resorts in Iran are not that well developed, they do have the character and facilities to make a ski trip worthwhile. Furthermore, Iran offers some fantastic backcountry skiing opportunities…if you’re skilled enough to head off the beaten track!

Skiing In Iran
Ski Resorts In Iran are not well developed, but are worth a visit! (Photo: Dizin Skiing Slopes CC BY-SA 3.0)

Japan

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 588
  •  Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Niseko Ski Resort

Japan is the most well known, most developed and most popular ski destination in Asia.

Japan has a large amount of world-class ski resorts that are visited by skiers from across the globe. With top facilities, easily accessible resorts, fascinating culture and some of the best snow conditions in the world; it’s easy to see why it’s popular.

With many of the other Asian ski destinations still in their development stages, Japan has been an established ski destination for many years. When people are skiing in Asia, they’re usually skiing in Japan.

Click here to find out why so many people are skiing in Japan…and why they think it’s so great.

Ski Resort In Japan
Japan Is The Most Popular Location For Skiing In Asia

Kazakhstan

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 7
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Shymbulak Ski Resort

Kazakhstan is likely the most well-established ski destination within central Asia. If you are looking for skiing in Central Asia, Kazakhstan might be your best bet.

Kazakhstan ski resorts are known for having great views, quiet slopes and amazing ski touring opportunities (for the more adventurous!).

Skiing in Kazakhstan is possibly one of Asia’s most underrated ski destinations. Offering skiing for all levels and value for money, it might not stay a secret for long.

Skiing In Kazakhstan, Almaty
Kazakhstan Is An Underrated Ski Destination

Kyrgyzstan

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 20
  •  Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Karakol Ski Resort

The high quality of skiing available in Kyrgyzstan is another well-kept secret from central Asia. Kyrgyzstan offers quiet slopes, amazing views, great snow quality and affordable prices.

If you’re looking for a developed ski industry, Kyrgyzstan is not the place for you. Although its facilities are not on par with the more developed alpine nations, it certainly makes up for a lot of that with its charm.

The potential for skiing in Kyrgyzstan is starting to be realised, with more investment being made into the industry in recent years. Hopefully, it makes these mountains more accessible for skiers in Asia.

Kyrgyzstan Ski Slope
Kyrgyzstan Are Starting To Invest In Skiing (Photo: Oruu-Sai Ski Resort CC BY 2.0)

Lebanon

  •  Number Of Ski Resorts: 6
  •  Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Mzaar Ski Resort

Lebanon is not the most well known skiing nation. However, its geography makes it an important addition to the Asia ski scene.

Situated in the Middle East, it offers a viable ski option for many of the neighbouring Arabian countries. Furthermore, skiing can be easily accessed from Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut in just 1 hour.

The ski resorts in Lebanon are not overly developed. However, they are more than capable of entertaining tourists and cost a fraction of the better-known ski resorts of Europe or America.

Lebanon Ski Resort
Lebanon Offers Accessible Skiing For Many Nations (Photo: Lebanon CC-BY-2.0)

Mongolia

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 1
  •  Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Sky Resort

Mongolia is one of the coldest countries around, with winter temperatures remaining below freezing througout most of the country between November and March.

Despite this, they are relatively new to the ski industry, with their first (and only) ski resort opening in 2009. Close to the capital of Ulaanbaatar, the newly built Sky Resort offers 6km of slope that often remain quiet.

Mongolia offers cold temperatures, but this has not translated into snow. The lack of precipitation means that natural snow is scarce, so expect snow canons if you’re skiing in Mongolia.

Mongolia
Mongolia Is One Of The Coldest Countries Around, But Don’t Expect Deep Snow!

North Korea

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 4
  •  Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Masikryong Ski Resort

North Korea is not the most accessible country for a ski holiday. However, they have continued to grow skiing within the nation.

The building of ski resorts in North Korea has been in a hope to; “make people not only possess strong physiques and sound mentality, but also enjoy their sports and cultural lives in a world’s advanced condition.”

The largest ski resort in North Korea, Masikryong, features a luxury hotel, ice rink and shopping. However, due to the difficulties involved in visiting North Korean as a tourist, the resort remains relatively quiet.

Skiing In North Korea
North Korea Keep Building Ski Resorts! (Photo: Masikryong, Uri Tours)

Pakistan

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 3
  •  Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Malam Jabba Ski Resort

Pakistan is predominantly a hot country. However, it is home to some of the highest mountains in the world.

These mountains have lead to a handful of ski resorts being built in Pakistan, the most notable of which is Malam Jabba. Since opening in 1988, Malam Jabba has had a tumultuous past and has struggled to stay in business.

Snowsports has so far not reached the levels of popularity that many in the country have hoped for in previous years. However, attempts to revive the ski industry and improve infrastructure have continued.

Skiing In Pakistan
Pakistan Has Seen Many Attempts To Improve Ski Infrastructure (Photo: Malam Jabba CC-BY-3.0)

South Korea

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 21
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Pyeongchang Olympic Park

South Korea is a nation that loves to ski, and are one of the largest ski destinations in Asia. They are currently home to over 20 ski resorts, including Pyoengchang; host of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Ski resorts in South Korea are relatively accessible, with the main ski areas located within four hours drive of the capital Seoul.

Skiing in South Korea does not always offer the best snow conditions, with man-made snow being a feature of many resorts. However, they do offer a great mix of skiing and culture, making it one of the most popular nations for skiing in Asia.

South Korean Ski Area
South Korea Is Popular Amongst Skiers In Asia

Tajikistan

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 1
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Safed Dara

Located in Central Asia; Tajikistan is both the smallest and most mountainous of the ‘Stan’s’. Along with the many mountains, they also have a lone ski resort.

Skiing is certainly not a developed sport in Tajikistan. Their only ski resort offers a limited amount of beginner/intermediate skiing, although it is hoping to expand.

However, it is starting to be discovered by ski enthusiasts seeking the best backcountry. Furthermore, an interesting culture and constantly improving facilities are starting to expose Tajikistan to the touring market.

Tajikistan Mountains
Tajikistan Is The Most Mountainous Region In Central Asia

Turkey

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 40
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Uludag Ski Resort

Turkey has been a long time popular summer tourist destination. However, they also have a lesser-known winter ski scene.

Turkey is home to a number of ski resorts spread across the nation. The ski resorts are growing in quality and size, along with the amount of visitors.

If you are looking for some of the most accessible and affordable skiing in Asia, Turkey should be near to the top of your list. Offering ski resorts to suit all abilities, they look like they will continue to attract an increasing amount of visitors over the coming years.

Ski Resort In Turkey
Turkey Is A Great Skiing Option In Western Asia

Uzbekistan

  • Number Of Ski Resorts: 3
  • Biggest/Most Popular Ski Resort: Amirsoy Mountain Resort

Uzbekistan is a central Asian country that has seen recent investment into their ski industry. Along with the opening of Amirsoy Mountain in January 2020, they are also planning to upgrade their existing ski resorts.

Offering value for money and infrastructure that is increasing in quality, Uzbekistan is a country that has is showing positive signs of increasing its ski tourism.

The ski industry in Uzbekistan is still in its relative infancy. However, improving facilities and improved ski resort accessibility have seen Uzbekistan become a realistic option for skiing in Asia.

Skiing In Asia, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan Has Is Becoming A Ski Country Worth Visiting

Skiing In South East Asia

When assessing the countries offering skiing in Asia, it’s clear to see that South East corner of the continent does not feature.

If you are looking for skiing, South East Asia is not your best bet. Located close to the equator, you can generally find temperatures averaging around +30C year-round.

Although natural skiing is not possible in South East Asia, the area does have a handful of ‘artificial’ alternatives.

Skiing In South East Asia, Indoor Ski Slope
Indonesia Has The Only Indoor Ski Slope In South East Asia (Photo: Trans Snow World)

Countries in the ‘tropical south’ have started to benefit from advancing technology and a growing ski market.

In recent years, artificial ‘endless slopes‘ have opened in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Each one has seen varying success.

Furthermore, Indonesia currently has the only indoor ski slope in the region. The newly built slope is designed to offer snow in a region where it was otherwise unimaginable.

Indoor Ski Slope In South East Asia
Indoor Ski Slopes Can Bring Snow To Places As Hot As South East Asia! (Photo: Trans Snow World)

The options for skiing in South East Asia are limited. However, artificial and indoor slopes are a recent introduction and a sign of the desire for skiing in the area.

Despite these new additions, the most popular option for skiing remains heading abroad. Japan, China, South Korea and New Zealand are the most popular ski destinations for travelling ski tourists from Asia.

Although the area is not blessed with the necessary terrain, skiing in South East Asia is certainly on the rise.

Indoor Skiing In Asia

The amount of indoor ski slopes has been increasing across the world. During this surge in ‘off-mountain’ ski alternatives, Asia has certainly not been left behind.

In fact, Asia has seen a large rise in indoor ski slopes over the past decade. However, this increase has been predominantly due to one country…China.

The growth of China’s ski industry has seen them develop every area of skiing, including indoor skiing.

China now has almost 30 indoor ski slopes, which puts them at the top of the list of the most indoor ski slopes in the world.

Additionally, Japan has the second most indoor ski slopes in the world. Adding together these two countries alone, Asia is home to more than half of the world’s indoor ski slopes.

Outside of China and Japan, indoor ski slopes can also be found in South Korea, India, UAE and Indonesia.

Indoor Skiing In Japan, Asia
Japan Has The Second Most Indoor Ski Slopes In Asia (Photo: Sayama Indoor Ski by Guilhem Velut CC BY 2.0)

In future years, it’s entirely possible that we may see Asia solidified as the home of indoor skiing. With further slopes already planned in China, Turkey, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Thailand: The growth isn’t showing any signs of stopping.

Due to the tropical climate and terrain of many countries in Asia, ‘natural’ skiing is not always possible. Asia is also the largest continent on the planet, meaning that travel to ski resorts can often involve long (and expensive) travel.

This combination makes indoor skiing in Asia a solution to the problem of ‘easily accessible skiing’ that many companies are striving to solve.

Dubai Ski Slope
Indoor Skiing Brings Snow To Any Climate (Photo: Ski Dubai)

Best Skiing In Asia

Asia is a large continent. It encompasses many different cultures and conditions, making every skiing nation vastly different from the next.

Many different countries are vying to offer the best ski experience. However, in our opinion, Japan still retains the title of best skiing in Asia.

Japan is by far the most popular ski destination in Asia and continues to attract ski tourists from countries both within and outside of the continent.

Skiing In Asia, Japan
Japan Is The Most Popular Ski Resort In Asia

If you are looking for the best snow quality in Asia (and possibly the world), then Japan is the winner. Its famed powder snow has lead to the nickname ‘Japow’ and has off-piste enthusiasts from across the world.

Japan also has a large number of ski resorts to choose from, most of which offer world-class facilities.

Accessing the ski resorts is also not an issue, with Tokyo being one of the biggest airports in Asia. Furthermore, transport within the country is some of the most efficient in the world.

Japanese Ski Resort
Japan’s Ski Resorts Are Some Of The Most Accessible In Asia

These reasons all contribute to Japan being known for having the best skiing in Asia. However, each Asian ski resort has something different to offer.

Personal preference is the main deciding factor when choosing a ski destination, and we believe that Asia has something to offer everyone.

Ski Resort in Asia
Asia Has A Ski Resort To Suit Everyone’s Needs!

Cheapest Skiing In Asia (Value For Money)

If you’re looking for the most ‘bang for your buck’, Asia has a few up-and-coming nations offering skiing on a budget.

In our opinion, the best budget skiing in Asia can be found in Turkey. Share on X

Turkey offers what is possibly the cheapest skiing in Asia.

Skiing In Turkey
Turkey Offers Some Of The Cheapest Skiing In Asia

Let’s take a look at how much it costs to ski in Turkey:

  • Ski Pass (1 Day): $16 (TL120)
  • Ski Equipment Rental (1 Day): $12 (TL88)
  • Ski Clothing Rental (1 Day): $6 (TL44)
  • Ski Instructor (1 Hour): $29 (TL220)
  • Restaurant Meal (1 Person, Mid Level): $7 (TL50)
  • Draft Beer (Bar): $3 (TL22)

These figures are based on a combination of experience and market research. Amounts quoted are all averages and recorded in USD.

Ski Slope In Turkey
You Can Ski Here For A Reasonable Price! (Photo: Turkey)

Flights to Turkey are usually reasonably priced. Due to its location, Turkey is often used as a transport hub between Asia and Europe.

This combination of accessibility and low prices make Turkey once of the most enticing budget ski options around.

Not only does Turkey offer cheap prices, it also offers a good standard of skiing. The biggest ski resort in Turkey, Mount Erciyes, offers a total of 55km of skiable piste (the 3rd largest in Asia!).

This combination of cheap prices, accessibility and ski area size make Turkey a great value for money ski destination.

Summing Up Skiing In Asia

Skiing in Asia is becoming more established with each passing year.

A diverse continent full of fascinating opportunities, Asia is a ski destination that can inspire anyone.


What’s your experience of skiing in Asia? Do you have a favourite resort or country? Leave a comment and let us know!