Exploring the Skiing Landscape in South Korea
Many people would wave off South Korea as a thriving winter sports destination. However, the well-developed resort infrastructure and copious amounts of snow make it a worthy choice for skiing enthusiasts. The 2018 Winter Olympics in the Pyeongchang county is the proof of this fact. To make the winter sports extravaganza more impactful, South Korea also built a new high-speed KTX rail line between the Olympic resorts and Seoul and developed dedicated winter zones. If you’re attending the games or planning a family vacation afterward, South Korea should definitely be on your radar. To help, here is a comprehensive guide to help you explore the skiing landscape here. Take a look.
Mountains and Resorts
Korea is divided into two parts by the Taebaek Mountains. This mountain range extends from Wonsan in North Korea, along with the eastern side of the Korean peninsula, till Busan in South Korea. The highest point in the Taebaks is approximately at a height of 1708 meters at Seoraksan in Gangwon-do, which makes it the best South Korean district to enjoy skiing. While there is enough snow here to attract novice skiers, there are other skiing destinations further afield in the lower hills surrounding Seoul and Jeollabuk-do.
How to Choose a resort
There is no dearth of hospitable accommodations and ski resorts in South Korea. Depending on your time of arrival, skill set, and travel budget, you can choose between resorts that offer ski instructions in English. Moreover, South Korean ski resorts are essentially modern, featuring several contemporary automated, digital lift-pass scanners, enclosed gondolas, and four-seat fast Pomas.
Among the top-rated ski resorts in South Korea, the High1 Ski Resort is tucked away cozily among the Taebaek Mountains, which receive more snowfall than all other mountains in the region. Talking about the resort, it is arguably the largest ski resort in South Korea and offers several diverse slopes to satisfy avid skiers. Even if you are not much into skiing, you can keep yourself busy at the full-fledged casino here. Likewise, we have the Yongpyong Ski Resort, which is consecutively voted as the most favorite ski resort for tourists in South Korea. Therefore, it comes as a no-brainer that both Yongpyong and Alpensia Ski Resort are playing host to the snow events in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Compared to Yongpyong, Alpensia is considerably small in size, yet features a variety of food outlets and even an indoor water park onsite. Another one of the prominent ski resorts, the Bears Town is not only an hour’s drive away from Seoul, but also offers one of the more challenging ski slopes (it has 11 lifts ). At the Konjiam Ski Resort, you can enjoy the onsite jjimjilbang (Korean sauna) and several outdoor heated pools, to relax those sore muscles after a rigorous skiing session.
Most ski resorts in South Korea offer private shuttle services to carry tourists between Incheon airport and central Seoul. Likewise, you have the high-speed KTX high-speed railway line, specifically designed for the Winter Olympics, which connects Pyeongchang county with Seoul. The High1 is also catered by a non-high-speed railway line through the mountain town of Gohan.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)