While South Korea has successfully exported its K-pop, K-beauty and K-food to many parts of the world, the country will be showing a different side of itself to the world in February: that of a serious ski and winter sports destination.
While winter sports have traditionally been associated with Europe and North America, 70 percent of South Korea is actually covered in mountains, providing the optimum stage for ski and snowboarding activities. Ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which runs Feb. 9 to 25, here’s a look at some of the noteworthy slopes of South Korea for athletes of all ages and levels, as suggested by the Korea Tourism Organization.
Alpensia Ski Resort, PyeongChang
Want to hit the slopes like an Olympian? Alpensia Resort will have the main stage as the principal venue during the PyeongChang Olympic Games, with events like ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon taking place on its six slopes. Set 700 meters above sea level, Alpensia is known for its excellent snow quality, and sweeping views of the Daegwallyeong mountain pass. Its slopes are also popular among snowboarders.
Yongpyong Ski Resort, PyeongChang
As the largest ski and snowboarding resort in the country, Yongpyong likes to call itself the “Alps of Korea.” Set 700 meters above sea level around 200 kilometers from Seoul, Yongpyong will host the alpine competitions during the Olympic Games. Among its 28 ski slopes is the country’s longest slope, as well as 7.4 kilometer round-trip gondola ride.
Vivaldi Park Ski World, Hongcheon
Located less than an hour away from Seoul, Vivaldi Park is popular among 20-something snow bunnies, with slopes christened with names like Hip-Hop, Techno and Funky and claims to be the most visited ski resort in the country over the last seven years. The resort was the first in Asia to introduce an eight-seater express chairlift and eight-seater gondola, and features 12 slopes. After peeling off their snowsuits and stepping out of their skis, guests can also retire to the spa services at Vivaldi Park Ocean World.
Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort, Chuncheon
As Korea’s only ski resort that can be reached by public transportation, the Elysian resort offers a distinct convenience advantage to car-less tourists. In fact, the subway station delivers guests right into the belly of the resort. Guests can take either the Gyeongchun Line of Seoul Subway or ITX Cheongchun High Speed Train and arrive on-site within an hour. Likewise, the resort boasts a “zero-wait” experience, as six ski lifts operate for 10 slopes, many of which are beginner-friendly. JB