Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xue Shan) located 15 km north of Lijiang in Yunnan Province boasts both the world's second highest elevation cable car (after Pico Bolivar in Venezuela) and the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. In typical Chinese entrepreneuristic fashion, the two are combined into one of China's more popular out of the way attractions. With occasional deep snowfalls during the winter months, an attempt to commercialize skiing was made but abandoned by the year 2000.
We made trips to the mountain in January 2007 and May 2008 to check out the possibility for offPiste or back country skiing. Unfortunately, the snow accumulation was not much deeper than in November and only extended to about the 4000 meter level. While there were patches of snow that one could ski on just to claim to have skied there, the wind blown and crusted texture of the snow as well as the danger of skiing over a boulder field with a thin cover, would discourage most rational skiers from attempting it.
The mountain management seems to agree and currently prohibit any off facility activity including hiking. The mountain could have a wonderful alpine hiking system, but at the present that is totally undeveloped and not a priority with the local officials. Even a search in Lijiang for anyone that worked as a guide for exploring the mountain came up empty. All hiking on this mountain is done on the northern side along Tiger Leaping Gorge.
So for now, it is look but do not touch one of the most beautiful, accessible mountains in Asia. That being said, a visit to Lijiang and the local attractions is definitely worth the visit even without skiing.