Fun year round at Xiling Mountain

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Snow-capped mountains are hard to come by around Shanghai, but just 95 kilometers from Chengdu City one finds Xiling Snow Mountain National Park.

Covering an area of 375 square-kilometers and boasting a maximum elevation of 5,374 meters, many call Xiling Snow Mountain the "Oriental Alp."

Surrounded by untouched woodlands, the park is an ideal destination in every season. In spring, it is filled with brilliant spring blossoms, while in fall it comes alive with splendid fall foliage.

When the weather is warm, visitors usually start their odyssey from the Dafeishui Scenic Spot. Passing by peculiar rocks and tinkling springs, visitors can see Zhangziya, or River Deer Cliff. The cliff is surrounded by waterfalls with drops between 30 and 70 meters in height. Among them, the most famous is Wucai Pubu, or Colorful Waterfall. Cascading down red and fish scale-like granite, the water seems like smooth silk sewed in red velvet.

Another highlight is Yinyangjie, or the Yin-Yang Border, a ridge located at a height of 3,150 meters. Owning to its elevation and the collision of weather patterns originating from the warm Sichuan Basin and the cold Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, the eastern side of the ridge often affords views of clear blue skies, while just meters away to the west the scene is obscured by wispy clouds and feathery mists. This eerie contrast explains the area's name, with "yin" and "yang" representing lightness and darkness respectively in traditional Chinese thought.

In the winter there is still plenty to do. Most visitors come for the park's ski resort. In most years, snow will cover the resort from the end of November until the following March.

A variety of winter activities are available at the resort, like dogsled treks for kids, snowmobile expeditions and, of course, alpine skiing.

A 2,500-meter-long sightseeing ropeway takes visitors to a viewing platform on the 3,250-meter-high snow-capped Riyueping Peak. This platform is a popular place to watch the sunrise.

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