There is nothing like doing things on the spur of the moment.
After a little sleep-in Saturday morning we were having breakfast and Leo asked if I would like to go somewhere different skiing this weekend. Well, you don't have to ask me twice to go skiing anywhere so within a couple of hours we had a driver organized, accommodation booked, our bags packed and we were on the road to Chongli.
We headed off to Chongli which is 350 kilometres north west of Beijing where a lot of the Winter Olympics will be held in 2022. The countryside along the way was mountainous and we saw The Great Wall in several places. We also saw many wind turbines and solar panels lining the whole sides of mountains for many kilometres.
We went to Thaiwoo village and booked in to Element Westin which was a lovely new Hotel. You could actually forget you were in China as the bed was so comfortable and the shower was amazing. The Hotel had a deer theme going on which I absolutely loved.
It was late in the afternoon by the time we checked in and sorted out our rental ski gear for the morning so we then wandered around the village which Leo told me was modelled on a European Ski Village. Of course it would have been prettier if there was more snow around but I still thought it was a pretty magical place.
We had a few drinks and Duck Pie for dinner at The Brew House which had a pretty good view of the slopes and the kids' Igloo Play House.
Next morning we were up early to hit the slopes. They have International coaches here so we had a wee lesson from a Scottish lad for 2 hours. It was the first time we have ever had an english speaking coach so we found we learnt heaps. We have been more or less learning by actions from our Chinese coach as she could really only yell, "big A, big A" at us.
At lunch time we took the gondola up to the very peak to see the view and have lunch at an Austrian restuarant.
Taking a minute to take in the view from where we skied from in the afternoon I mentioned to Leo just how dry and rugged the countryside was. He said, "Well, we are skiing on the edge of the Gobi Desert".
Who would have ever thought I would be skiing on the edge of the Gobi Desert. Such a crazy thought that I never even dreamt of putting that one on my bucket list.
It is all systems go as they prepare for the Winter Olympics in 2022. As we drove to Chongli we saw whole villages being demolished and new high rise cities being buildt. The ski village is a work in progress and is going to be huge and interesting to see by the time it is finished.
Next day we skied until lunch time and then it was time to head back to Beijing. It took about a half an hour longer to get back to Beijing as all cars entering Beijing from Hebei Province need to be checked so there were two big police checks to go through.
So after a fun couple of nights away it was back to the farm for Leo on the fast train and back to Beijing life for me.