Third day of our holiday and we tried a third skiing resort: Italian Dolomiti. I always heard about this resort because they were said to have the fastest chair lift. Their ski lift is the kind that detaches plus it has a bubble cover to protect from the wind. That is of course much nicer than the old slow open chair lifts in Wanlong, but the issue is the other two lifts in Dolomiti are just single t-bar lifts in German called “Tellerlift”. A “Tellerlift” is usually only used for beginners or in very old ski resorts. They are slow and only transport people one by one.
In this resort the view around was nice with natural snow also on the surrounding mountains.
The “Tellerlift” for accessing 3 advanced slopes only opened at 11am. We immediately went there. The lift attendant stopped us and said we need to be wearing helmets to be able to take this lift. We said we are wearing helmets and he said no, a cap does not count. I insisted that my Ribcap helmet cap is a skiing helmet. He was very skeptical, touched and squeezed the Ribcap and finally said yes, we can go. I love my Ribcap!
Today we only skied half a day as we wanted to also go to a public hot spring. We had lunch at Dolomiti. I thought it would be best to take Italian food so I ordered Spaghetti Bolognese which turned out to be “Penne” Bolognese but still tasted good.
I also chatted with the Italian manager who told me about the history of Skiing in China. I was seeing the increasing amount of ski resorts as a sign that the market is growing. But maybe this development is a bit to fast for the market. Also the infrastructure is only partially developed. Here are some impressions of the partially dirt road leading to this ski resort and the farmer houses.
The main thing why the air was not so clear around here was the Zijin Mining Factory.
All in all I think it is a long way until the Chongli area with all the ski resorts will deserve a name like “Davos of the East” which they are trying to use already today. But actually already the prices for 1 day skiing are 588.-RMB. That is higher than in almost any of the European ski resorts.
We then headed to Huailai for the Diman Hot Springs. Their website looked impressive and made me chose this hot spring rather than any other one in the area. I already expected many people in this public hot spring as it is already the second day of the New Year and many people might go out with their families. But I did not expect the venue just to one big open room with different baths and many people. Of course we were the only foreigners. The Chinese people would sit in the water and smoke despite the non-smoking signs. Others would spit into the water. And of course the noise level was high.
But it was nice to sit in a green tea hot bath or a red wine hot bath. Each pool had a different temperature. I was confused because I had seen pictures of outdoor pools and jacuzzi but I could not find them. I asked the staff and one lady just kept shaking her head, but that was probably just her thinking “oh my god, a foreigner with a long nose is talking to me and I do not speak English” despite the fact that I was asking in pure Mandarin. I asked another person and she said yes, we just need to go out and all the way towards the direction of the front gate. I thought she was kidding.
I had heard that we could book a room so I started my quest on how to book. I turns out that can only be done in an office at the entrance gate to the whole area containing many buildings and a hotel and parking lots and stuff. It did not make any sense to me, but that was how it was. We asked if we can go out and come back in on the same ticket and they said yes, but only for 2 hours and we need to inform the staff.
When we wanted to go to the hotel restaurant we told the staff we wanted to go out and they said yes sure, go. We asked for our shoes and they said no, we will only get them after we leave and pay. So we went out in the flipflops they provided.
[Here is a suggestion for anybody wanting to go to this hot spring and having no money. Just find a pair of shoes that you want to throw away, the hot spring takes your shoes in exchange for their flipflops, but that is all they have. They have no name or contact detail or car number or anything. You can spend a full day inside from 8am to almost 11pm and indulge yourself in massages and all sorts of stuff. When you want to leave you just walk out with the flipflops but you will have to sacrifice your shoes.]
Of course they have no way to monitor how long we stay outside so we had a long dinner with Spanish wine that I had received as a Christmas present in Europe.