We had two objectives when we went to China.
1) Visit our best friends Russ and Brittany Hopkins
2) Ski and ride in the country, since that’s what we do.
After securing a visa through a lengthy process (which took about a month by hiring someone who specializes in visas to China) we flew to go visit Russ and Brit, who were living in Beijing teaching high school art and dance. We timed our visit to capitalize on time together exploring the country with their local knowledge. Russ and Brit quickly got involved with the Chinese culture and the Expat scene when they moved there. Russ spent his weekends taking his BMX bike to Woodward China, hammering out long days riding their amazing skate/bike park. Brit, on the other hand, further pushed her own self in the realm of yoga and dance. They would both occasionally go on rock climbing expeditions around the country and on a trip to Thailand. The pair made sure we checked off the typical bucket list items which included getting some eastern medicine (acupuncture and cupping) as well as exploring the Great Wall, but we were also seeking out new places which eventually landed us on a 4 hour bullet train ride to XI’an to see the Terra Cotta Warriors.
On the skiing side of things – lack of snow in the country kept us local and sent us searching for some sort of surface to slide on. We found a ski hill that also happened to be surrounded by the Great Wall on three sides near the village of Miyun called Nanshan. It was unique enough so we went for it. The local management hooked Mollie and I up with some lift tickets and we set off to ride a chairlift over a dry mountain scape to two white ribbons that worked their way down to the base. We were the only people riding the “advanced” terrain that day. We felt as if we had our own private mountain – complete with smog-filled views of the Great Wall vista.
Straight from Beijing, we headed to the powder mecca, Japan.