Aspen, Colorado, Chamonix, France, Zermatt, Switzerland, three destinations that have earned a reputation for great skiing, pulling in thousands of visitors from around the globe each year. Now you can add Ulan Bator, Mongolia to that list, as Sky Resort opened late last month, becoming the first ski resort in that country.
Located on Bogd Khan Uul Mountain, a World Heritage Site found not far from Mongolia’s capital city, Sky Resort is a far cry from those global skiing meccas mentioned above. The mountain stands just 3000 feet in height and offers only a modest amount of vert. Snow is at a premium as well in the arid Mongolian climate, so the resort uses two Italian engineered snow guns to fill the slopes with powder. Still, it is a welcome respite from the long, very cold, Mongolian winters, and the locals are happy to have it.
The resort features five different runs, varying in length from 800 to 1070 meters. Most are designed for beginners and intermediate skiiers, but one is rated as a “Black Diamond”, or expert route. There are also two rope tows and two chairlifts to deliver visitors to their various destinations on the mountain, and the on property restaurant seats 300 guests, while serving a variety of Mongolian, Korean, and European dishes. Full day lift tickets cost roughly $12 on the weekends, making Sky a relative bargain for foreign visitors, while remaining quite expensive for most Mongolians.
The Sky Resort owners aren’t resting on their laurels when it comes to finding uses for the property in the off season either. Next summer, a golf course will open at Sky, with plans to host a PGA Tour event in the near future as well. It seems that while the country remains a good choice for adventure travelers, it is looking to expand its appeal to more mainstream travelers as well.