China’s mega ski resort delayed (again)

Ping Tian, China’s first destination ski resort in Xinjiang Province has been shelved for the 2009/2010 winter according to the resort’s management.

For the third season in a row the management team behind Ping Tian Resort, located about 1 hour’s drive from Urumqi, won’t be opening its doors to skiers and snowboarders.

The resort’s management told CherryPow they will not be opening this year because of delays in getting permits approved and the July riots.

Riots sparked by ethnic tensions broke out in the capital of Urumqi back in July and resulted in the death of at least 197 people, injured an estimated 1700, and caused widespread damage in the city.

“Undoubtedly the July violence didn’t help, but it’s mostly been a long quest for approvals and permits”, a spokesperson for the Ping Tian Resort told CherryPow.

Ping Tian Resort is being positioned as “China’s answer to Colorado’s Rocky mountains” according to the group behind the proposed new ski area. The resort is located on the Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains) range which borders the far west of China and is one of the first destination ski resorts to be built in the country. The mountain range boasts peaks of around 13,000 feet and has year-round snow on some of the higher peaks.

Originally scheduled to open in 2007 the resort now faces it’s third consecutive year of false starts caused by a series of delays.

The group behind the construction of the resort say that because this is the first resort of its kind in China and Xinjiang that they’re finding it hard to get plans approved.

“There are myriad departments (forestry, land usage, infrastructure, tree cutting, etc) whose approvals are required and many of those departments exist at each of 3 levels of government: Urumqi city, Xinjiang region and the central government in Beijing,” the PingTian spokesperson said.

“We have 50 sq km of really pristine land so they’re being very careful and I don’t blame them. Nevertheless, it’s a bit like 3-D chess.”

“The net effect of all this is that it’s taking more time than we anticipated to get everything approved and we don’t want to proceed in piece-meal fashion… meaning all our ducks have to be lined up to the point that we’re satisfied with our ability to achieve the levels of quality we’ve set for ourselves. It’s frustrating, but reality,”

While the resort won’t be ready this year the group behind the construction say that they’re still firmly focused on launching the resort.

“It’s uncharted territory and these things take time. In fact, it would probably take longer if we were trying to do this in Utah or Colorado,” he added.

For more information about Ping Tian resort visit China Ski Tours or the videos at

Posted by Brendon on November 18th, 2009 in and


Brendon @cherrypow

Hi, I'm Brendon, editor and one of the co-founders of CherryPow. When work isn't calling I'm planning the next snow adventure and writing about it.


Oh my god, that looks amazing. That looks nothing like Colorado…it looks like B.C. or Alaska. I want to go to there!

Mike Berard on November 25, 2009 at 4:26 pm - Reply

Mike, that’s the Tian Shan range around the resort – but yes, some amazing mountains in China. It’s only going to be a matter of time I think.

Brendon on November 30, 2009 at 12:26 am - Reply

Actually, that photo is from the high Tien Shan hundreds of miles west (where peaks reach 7000m) of the ski site. PingTian is in a subrange of the Tien SHan chain near Urumqi where peaks reach 4000m. The terrain and elevations are similar to Park City (and look nothing like that photo). Imagine the lower half of Park City; that’s what they’re trying to develop.

jimesin on December 15, 2009 at 12:05 am - Reply

This is utter nonsense.
They are actually planning to build a resort in an isolated and restless region, at a similar latitude as Beijing’s resorts (-20C) and far from population centers.
This will never fly if it ever gets by some miracle off the ground.
A better place would be the Hymalayan mountain range west of Chengdu in Sichuan, closer to population centers in central China and the east coast (500M +), high enough for seasonal snow and in a politically quiet area.
From someone who has lived, worked and skiied in the PRC.

voodoochild on January 29, 2010 at 3:21 am - Reply

    voodoochild, we’ve recently been out near the mountains you speak of in western Sichuan – I tend to agree with you.

    Brendon on February 1, 2010 at 3:56 am

“A better place would be the Hymalayan mountain range west of Chengdu in Sichuan, closer to population centers in central China and the east coast (500M +), high enough for seasonal snow and in a politically quiet area.”

voodoochild and/or Brendon, could you advise where you are referring to and near what population centres? I live in Hong Kong, so would be interested to know. Many thanks

Dees on March 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm - Reply

Together with general (private) aviation, world class ski resorts are among the last frontier of China. I will be among the 1st to ski at PingTian when it opens!

Jane on March 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm - Reply

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