South Korea is a country with numerous relatively low-level mountain ranges succeeding one another over its landmass, sandwiched between China across the sea to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea, the only country to which it is connected over land. The country’s three main ranges are the Taebaek, Sobaek, and Jiri mountains, with Hallasan (1,950m), the country’s highest peak, actually the cone of a volcanic formation that formed Jeju Island to the south of the mainland. From December through March, the country is known for its typically chilly winters, which can be counted on to deliver moderate snowfall and cold enough temperatures for snowmaking.
The vast majority of South Korea’s ski resorts are in Gangwon-do Province, which receives the most annual snowfall. Some of them are less than an hour’s drive from Seoul. South Korea was a late adopter of organized downhill skiing, with the first resorts opening in the mid-1970s. However, while there are only about 20 ski resorts in the country, South Korea was already considering hosting the Winter Olympics in the late 1990s and was a close second to Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014 before obtaining the privilege to host the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang. South Korea likewise avoided the abrupt drop in interest in winter sports that hit Japan in the early 1990s following the collapse of the country’s ‘bubble economy.’
South Korean ski resorts may be sparse, but they are well-developed facilities in most cases, offering a wide range of year-round activities in addition to skiing and snowboarding, as well as substantial lodging options on-site. Most are easily accessible from major cities, including Seoul. Pistes are frequently floodlit to allow skiing from early in the morning to late at night. Mid-December to mid-February is peak season, and rooms tend to sell out well in advance during this time.
Skiing And Snowboarding In Korea: A Guide
Mountains and resorts in Korea
South Korea may not immediately come to mind as a winter sports destination, but its well-developed slopes and plentiful snow make it a viable option for serious skiers and snowboarders. It’s also one of the few spots in the world where you can ski by day and party by night in a big city, Seoul. The Taebaek Mountains, which run along the eastern side of the Korean peninsula from Wonsan in North Korea to Busan in southern South Korea, divide the country. In Gangwon-Seoraksan, do’s the Taebaks reach a summit of 1708 meters. As a result, Gangwon-do in South Korea’s best province for snow sports, as its height allows for the most snowfall. While South Korea is not known for its snow, it has also some of the Top Travel Destinations. In addition, there is enough fluffy powder to thrill downhill skiers, and snowboarders will find the sport to be a rage among Koreans, who are frequently seen zooming down slopes in designer gear.
Selecting a Resort
When it comes to choosing a ski resort in South Korea, you have several possibilities depending on your time, ability level, and budget. Most resorts have ski schools with English-speaking teachers, so even if you’re new to the activity, you’ll be taken care of. Korean resorts are often quite contemporary, with many chairlifts equipped with automated, digital lift-pass scanners. At the bottom of the hill, most resorts offer a ski lodge-style base with a variety of dining options. From two-seater lifts to four-seater rapid Pomas and enclosed gondolas, there’s something for everyone.
How to Get Around
Nearly every single ski resort in South Korea has a private shuttle service to and from Incheon Airport and central Seoul. These are by far the most convenient method to get to the mountains because they cater specifically to skiers and snowboarders (including equipment storage) and drop you off precisely where you need to be. They are usually roughly twice as expensive as riding public buses or trains, which are less direct and often require a taxi at the finish. Many of the shuttle buses cater to day-trippers, and their timings are tailored to accommodate early departures from Seoul and late returns from the resorts for people who are not staying overnight.
Every resort in South Korea rents out equipment. The equipment is normally brand new and in excellent condition. If you’re more advanced or have specific needs, you can also rent premium equipment, albeit these aren’t always as well-stocked. Boots, skis, and boards are available in a variety of sizes. Aside from that, all South Korean resorts rent clothing, so you may rent a full ski suit, snow trousers, and a coat for the day or weekend, which is convenient for those traveling with suitcases. Although a range of sizes, including larger ones, are often accessible, packing your kit is your best chance if you are particularly tall or want large sizes.
Best Ski Resorts In Korea To Visit
There’s no better way to spend the chilly winter months in Korea than skiing! There’s excitement in the air as the days grow cooler and Korea’s ski season approaches. Skiing at some of Korea’s greatest ski resorts is one of the country’s many enjoyable options for keeping you entertained during the winter season. What’s more, while having your stay in the country, there are other Outdoor Activities in South Korea for you to experience.
The Overall Best Ski Resort In Korea Is Yongpyong Ski Resort
The Yongpyong Ski Resort is undoubtedly Korea’s top ski resort. It not only hosted the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but it also possesses the country’s longest slope. The park offers a wonderful day in the snow with a huge selection of slopes that appeal to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. Another plus is that Yongpyong Ski Resort receives the most snowfall and operates longer than most Korean ski resorts due to its great position. (From late November until early April)
High1 Ski Resort
High1 Ski Resort is also one of the top ski resorts in Korea and is only rivaled by Yongpyong in terms of its size and terrain variation. Having long, broad slopes it’s suitable for the whole family and is a terrific place for beginners learning how to ski. Due to the obvious size of the ski park, the courses are not as congested and there are very few lineups for the ski lifts.
Bears Town Ski Resort
Bears Town Ski Resort is one of Korea’s lesser-known ski resorts, but it’s also one of the closest to Seoul. Bears Town is a fantastic area to learn to ski or snowboard in Seoul because the slopes are vast with a gentle elevation.
Phoenix Ski Park
Phoenix Ski Park, near Yongpyong Ski Resort in Gangwon Province, is another popular ski resort in Korea. It is spread between two peaks and offers a diverse range of slopes as well as first-rate amenities, including a 5-star hotel. Phoenix, which hosted freestyle skiing and snowboarding events during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, has established itself as a snowboarding destination in Korea. Because it is lower in height than Yongpyong and High1, the park is primarily reliant on manufactured snow.
Vivaldi Ski Resort is Korea’s most popular ski resort, but with that reputation comes long lines and crowds on all slopes. The proximity of Vivaldi to Seoul, as well as its state-of-the-art amenities that are regularly improved, make it a fantastic resort to visit in Korea. Each of the slopes of Vivaldi Park has a unique name, such as Jazz, Reggae, or Techno. Each of these slopes is accompanied by music that is played throughout the course and is tied to the name. Vivaldi is a hip ski resort featuring a family-friendly snow park called Snowyland that will keep your kids entertained for hours.