Time to enjoy the perks of hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics
Time to enjoy the perks of hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics
- By KKday
- | Nov 22, 2018
A new skiing season is here and it’s high time to gear up and get ready for the thrills of smashing some slopes once again. South Korea is easily a top destination for skiing and snowboarding this winter. As the host of the recent 2018 Winter Olympics, the nation has stepped up its game in providing world-class winter sports resorts.
The skiing season in South Korea lies between November and March, and the most sought-after ski resorts are in Gangwon-do and Gyeonggi-do. That said, we’ll still highlight some winter sports resorts near Busan, just in case you’re looking for an alternative travel destination besides Seoul.
If you are an absolute beginner and would like to avoid the embarrassment of looking completely lost on the slopes, we have just the right options for you too. At a glance, here are the best ski experiences in South Korea sorted by location and what it's most suitable for.
The table above gives you a quick peek of the top resorts, but keep reading for more on each.
InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort
1. Oak Valley
The Oak Valley Ski Resort is located in Wonju, about an 1.5-hour drive from Seoul. It is a relatively smaller resort known for being more remote, surrounded by a picturesque oak forest.
The slopes in the Oak Valley Snow Park was specially built for different levels of skiers, including two for beginners, five for intermediates and two advanced courses, making it suitable for players of all levels to indulge in thrilling winter sports. Also, thanks to the fast ski lifts, you can test your nerves on different levels of slopes in a shorter time.
Maybe you don’t know much about skiing, and you’re hesitating whether to try this dangerous-looking sport or not. Then Elysian ski resort, one of the most beginner-friendly ski resorts in South Korea, is the one for you.
The resort is within one-hour drive from Seoul— perfect for a one-day visit. On top of that, it is the only ski resort in Korea that can be reached by subway. Located in a beautiful valley, this is the place where you can enjoy a safe glide while embracing the panoramic view of nature landscape. Besides the eight courses designed just for the novices, there is also a group practice zone where you can practice at ease before you’re entirely ready to go. Elysian is also close to tourist hotspot Nami Island, so working in a trip there is easy too.
3. High 1
High 1 ski resort is one of the three biggest resorts in South Korea, where the mesmerising view of snow-capped Taebaek Mountains will take your breath away. It has three peaks: Baekwoon Mountain, Valley Top and Mountain Hub. The levels vary from beginner to International Ski Federation (FIS) certified advanced courses, perfect for the family or a group of friends with diverse skiing abilities. Not to mention the high-tech facilities such as lift systems and gondola that guarantees you a smooth and comfy journey in the grand snow playground.
Last but not least, the ski resort is well-known for its effort in environmental preservation, keeping the captivating mountainscape and river view beautiful for generations to come.
4. Vivaldi Park
Remember the very moment in the K-drama, Legend of the Blue Sea, where Joon-jae fell into the beauty of Shim Chung while lying side-to-side on the crystal bed of snow? Vivaldi Park is the very shooting location of the hit drama. So if that's your thing, hop into the scene and spark your own romance here.
Within 45 minutes drive from Seoul, Vivaldi park is the perfect ski resort for a one-day trip. However, if you seek to stay for one or two nights, the resort also offers a wide range of accommodations and amenities. As for the skiing itself, the resort has 12 slopes that cater to all levels of skiers. It opens from 8.30 am until 5.00 am, making it great for night skiing too.
5. InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort
The Alpensia Resort allows you to take in the alpine beauty of the Daegwallyeong mountain pass. Besides its natural beauty, the resort also hosted the ski jumping competition for the 2018 Winter Olympics, making it one of the most well-equiped places to ski.
Although there are only six slopes in the Alpensia Resort, it is still a good fit for family or beginners, since most of the slopes cater to beginners and intermediates. It is also a not-to-be-missed spot for snowboard enthusiasts for one of its slopes dedicated to just snowboarding.
6. Yongpyong Resort
The world-class Yongpyong Resort lies in the so-called “Korean Alps”, and is the designated venue for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Yes, the slopes are steeper than the ones in other resorts. Therefore, it is suitable for the more experienced skiers. The sunrise from Dragon Peak is another view not to be missed—you can take the gondola to the Dragon Peak and be rewarded with the magnificent view of morning sunlight stretching out from the eastern sea.
Also (K-drama fans take note), Yongpyong Resort is also the place where Ji Eun-tak from Goblin was saved by Goblin’s heroic rescue. You can also find tributes to another classic drama, Winter Sonata, here.
7. Phoenix Pyeongchang
Located in the township of Bongpyeong-myeon, this snow park is the designated venue for freestyle skiing and snowboarding contests in the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympics. There are 21 slopes, offering an array of choices for all kinds of skiers and snowboarders.
The biggest reason why it is beloved by both locals and tourists is its well-equipped resorts— restaurants, supermarkets, spa, fried-chicken shops, shopping mall, indoor swimming pool, bowling alleys, and golf courses— you name it.
8. Jisan Forest Resort
Moving on to Gyeonggi-do, there is the Jisan Forest Resort which has six slopes with three different difficulty levels, four ski lifts and a few sunkid lifts for beginners and children.
It is great for both skiers and non-skiers, with a wide variety of restaurants and cafes for skiers who need a warm food break and those who are just there to chill. It is located not far from Seoul (about an hour drive), perfect for a day trip too.
9. PINE Resort
This is another resort for all family members to enjoy, providing seven slopes of different inclinations, and great lighting for night and early morning skiing. The most challenging slope in PINE resort is also where the National Alpine Ski Competition takes place every year, drawing professional skiers to come to test their skills.
10. Bears Town
Other than its longest and steepest slope named the 88 challenge, Bears Town is generally good for those progressing to intermediate levels. It is settled on the biggest hill of Seoul with plenty of gentle terrains, providing a relatively safe area for learners to practice and get familiar with skiing.
For those easily troubled by the transportation, this might be the right one for you too, since it can be reached by subway and bus.
Eden Valley Resort
Visitors going to Busan, weep no more. Although most of the ski resorts are too far away, you have a great choice with Eden Valley Resort, featuring various types of slopes catering to all. It is just one to two hours drive from Busan. It is also known for its scientifically-designed slopes to disperse skiers and avert overcrowding. For the beginners, be sure to take the lesson with a professional coach to get a hang of it.