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ChangBaiShan International Ski Resort and Nature Reserve

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These pictures sum up the breath-taking scenery and feeling you get when you reach this area. Known as the ChangBaiShan International Resort, it was developed by the Wanda Group and is located just 15 minutes away by car or shuttle bus from the local airport (NBS airport code).

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JuneYao Airlines is the only carrier with a direct daily flight to Changbaishan from Tianjin (TSN). In less than 2 hours, you will reach this wonderland. This is the airline that I took and the flight was in the early evening which is a good time as there is less traffic. The airplane was clean and the service was at par with higher-end airlines I have travelled on. And, they were on time as well. They had a meal service, pillows and blankets even on this short-haul run. Many other airlines are doing away with these niceties to save money. When we landed at the ChangBaiShan (NBS) airport which is bigger than I expected for this area, there was a nice little snowfall which was a welcoming sight against the clear black sky.
 
This is by no means a small place. There are mountains, heavenly lakes, small towns, hotels/resorts and natural places to visit over the seasons. 
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If you are into winter sports like downhill skiing, this is the right place for you.  You will find that they have a world-class skiing experience from novice to advanced level (Diamond) of skiing ability. This terrific large-scale integrated ski resort, one of Asia’s largest and most prestigious, covers 7 square kilometers and comprises of 40+ ski runs/trails surrounded by unspoiled birch and pine tree forests that accommodate up to 8,000 skiers.   There are beginner slopes with multiple magic belts (sort of a modern rope tow), lifts and gondolas. There is also a snow and ice play area with all kinds of conveyances. 
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Many other thrilling and challenging winter sports, such as slalom, ski jumping, freestyle skiing, ice fishing, ice skating and more are available.
 
During the non-winter months, there are other activities which include golfing, nature hiking, bicycling, fishing, boating, grass-skating and shopping.  Oh, and don’t forget chilling out. What is chilling out? It is getting your mind into a different world which is less stressful.  ChangBaiShan is this unique world located in the North of China. So many people think this area is so much like the European mountainous areas like Switzerland. This is place wherein you come to know of a different China within China.
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Now, where should you stay? There are several 3 to 5 star resorts to choose from, but the Starwood Group’s offering which combines The Westin and Sheraton brands into one complex stands at the top. As the General Manager of The Westin and Sheraton ChangBaiShan Resorts complex, Simpson Han explained, they have designed the resort to be a one stop experience. The things you need (skiing, dining, tourism, sport) are all in one place and easy to access. The guest can share the facilities between the two brands as well. They could have breakfast in the Sheraton today and then in The Westin the next day. They have their own in-house Ski House to assist with the needed ski equipment and there is a practice area that is just 10’s of meters away from the resort. You can ski in and ski out. The resort’s placement is at halfway point of the mountain which is the top most part of the tourism complex.
 
Guests can get everything they need within the resort paradise. We have Skiing assistants that can coach them on the skiing ability. We have a special area within The Westin to help kids lose their fear of skiing. We understand the need for kids to have special attention to make their visit happier. We have put special robes, slippers and areas to satisfy their desires. We also have a safe environment.
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After a long day of activities, it is time to wind down and you can feast on fine gourmet food (Western or Chinese) prepared by master chefs at reasonable prices. I tried the Norwegian Salmon with Mashed Potatoes and I was in awe as to the exquisite flavor. I didn’t expect a fine dining experience so far from the metropolitan downtown. I ended up eating it almost every night that I was there. After dinner you can star-gaze into the night ski and enjoy a nice wine at the lobby lounge. If the kids need something to do, there is a play area designed just for them or even an indoor swimming pool. If you did not bring any kids or don’t like them, do not worry as the resort complex is so spacious that you can easily find a private nook in which to find solace.
 
If you desire to see the other nature areas, then located near the resort is the Heavenly Lake which is China’s largest volcanic crater lake featuring magnificent views. The lake earned its name from its height of more than 2,100 meters. From its peak, one can see spectacular waterfalls, other lakes and China’s largest ice-skating training center. It is about 13 km in circumference but cannot be walked around completely as the other side is in North Korea and the border is not marked well.
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You can visit the mountain by yourself by hiring a driver, calling a taxi or availing a tour organized by the Resort. Nearby gates to the Natural Reserve Park can be accessed from BaiHe (North gate) and SongJiangHe (West gate). North gate is easier as you can go right up to the top in winter by an appointed car or bus. West gate is the most scenic journey and you have to walk the last part of the way. If you are coming from The Westin or Sheraton Changbaishan Resorts, located in Changbaishan International Ski Resort area, you can go to the West Gate as it is just a 20-minute drive to the entrance and then take the bus once you are inside the park. In winter, you must take other transport to a place where you must climb 1400 steps to reach to the top and enjoy the best view of Changbaishan volcano crater. 
 
As you can see there are so many natural things to see and do in this area and at the same time you can enjoy the comfort of a 5-star resort. You can be a couch potato and enjoy the high-level of service from the staff while viewing the entire splendor that nature offers.
 
Doesn’t this all sound great?  It is! What are you waiting for? You don’t need an invitation. Just round up your family, kids of all ages and others that matter to you and enjoy the life-refueling activities that ChangBaiShan has to offer namely clean air, quiet and restful surroundings, an invigorating climate and fine resort accommodation. As Simpson Han likes to define it, “this is a holiday paradise”, which is a part of China, just beside the sacred mountain ChangBai, the “Permanent White Mountain”, and is a place for love, family and friends.
 
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