Photo: View of Elysian Gangchon ski slope (Courtesy of Elysian Gangchon Resort)
Many ski resorts in Korea are scattered throughout Gangwon-do, the region that receives the most annual snowfall. These facilities, despite being located out of the popular Seoul, attract thousands of tourists each year who come to enjoy the winter season by hitting the slopes. Equipped with modern facilities and offering a range of courses, these resorts have a little something for everyone. There are also a number of great resorts located right on the outskirts of Seoul, allowing for quick and convenient ski trips.
Most resorts are large, leisure-focused facilities that stay open all year round and offer plush accommodations and amenities; however, the most popular time to visit these resorts is during the peak ski season from mid-December to the end of February. During this period, prices for the accommodations tend to increase and rooms fill up fast. Therefore, visitors who are unable to get lodging within the resort complexes are recommended to reserve hotels, motels, or pensions (inns) in the surrounding areas ahead of time.
TIP) Guide to Ski Resorts
Skiing and snowboarding facilities in the resorts usually open between late November and early December and end around early March. However, take note that weather and unforeseen circumstances may lead to a change of schedule. Also, as all resorts differ in prices and operating hours of offered services such as lifts, ski programs, snowboarding, etc., it is strongly recommended to visit each resort’s official website for details.
Photo: Phoenix Park Ski Resort
Phoenix Park is known not only for its 21 slopes but has also gained attention nationwide for its "Snowboard Park," a snowboarding park complete with a half-pipe, tabletop, round quarter and rails. With excellent quality of snow, ski courses are available for all levels of skiers.
Phoenix Park has beautiful natural scenery, perfect powder, and exceptional facilities like the mountaintop restaurant, which contributes to a stellar skiing and snowboarding experience. Phoenix Park has continued to enhance their facilities since 2011, by introducing competition runs for snowboarding and mogul skiing that will be used in a total of nine events in the upcoming Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Photo: Yongpyong Ski Resort
Affectionately known as the "Alps of Korea," Yongpyong Resort bears the recognition of being the first ski resort in Korea to offer modern facilities. Some even say that this resort is a symbol of the development and popularization of skiing across the nation.
The resort’s accommodations are located nearest to the ski slopes, which makes it a popular venue amongst skiers. Also widely known as the filming location of the famous drama "Winter Sonata (2002)," the ski resort is especially well-liked among tourists from Japan and other Asian countries.
Developers of the resort took advantage of the area's natural terrain and developed top-notch facilities that are said to be among the best ski facilities in Korea. The resort has a diversity of 28 slopes, as well as 14 lifts (including 7.4km round-trip gondola), offering visitors a variety of ski and snowboarding facilities for a comfortable and exciting wintertime getaway.
The slopes at the resort receive an average annual snowfall of 250 centimeters, which also means that this outstanding facility can operate slightly longer than the typical ski season. Moreover, Yongpyong Ski Resort will be hosting the alpine competitions for the upcoming Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Photo: Vivaldi Park Ski World (Courtesy of Daemyung Leisure Industry Co., Ltd.)
Vivaldi Park Ski World was the first ski resort in Korea to offer nighttime skiing and as such, has become a favorite among young skiers in their teens and twenties. Even the slope names (Hip-Hop, Techno, Funky, etc.) are geared towards young adults. Some of the more advanced slopes are uniquely designed with unexpected twists and turns for maximum thrills.
For those who are new to winter sports, Vivaldi Park Ski World provides the perfect setting to safely enjoy skiing and snowboarding. There are a variety of slopes with different inclines and distances to give new snow sport enthusiasts the perfect chance to gradually work their way up from the bunny slopes to the more advanced courses. Overall, the park offers 12 different slopes and ten lifts. Daemyung Vivaldi Park also includes Vivaldi Park Ocean World where you can relax at the spa after a long day of hitting the slopes.
Photo: Wellihillipark Snow Park
Recognized for its size and safety by the International Ski Federation (FIS), Wellihillipark Snow Park (formerly known as Sungwoo Resort) is equipped with super-pipes and boardwalk conveyer lifts that meet the size qualifications for international competition. Its FIS certification and variety of facilities has made it a popular destination for the serious snowboarders.
The resort offers 20 slopes ranging from bunny slopes to black diamond courses and a mogul course to maximize fun and thrills. The Fun Park is the largest terrain park of its kind in Korea and offers facilities such as C-box, X-box, and wall box for snowboarders to practice their tricks.
Photo: Alpensia Ski Resort
Alpensia Resort is tucked away in the mountains at about 700m above sea level and is known for its excellent snow quality and sweeping views of the majestic Daegwallyeong Mountain Range. The resort offers six slopes with various courses for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers and can accommodate up to 3,000 people. Snowboarding slopes and a long-distance sledding slope are specially designed for snowboarders and visitors with family.
As the main venue for the Pyeonchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Alpensia Resort has recently been the subject of buzz across the nation and within the international sports community. Though the resort is currently equipped with competition venues for ski jumping, cross-country skiing, and biathlon events, construction is still underway for luge, bobsled, and skeleton facilities for use during the Games.
In addition, accommodations available within the resort grounds include the Holiday Inn and Suites Alpensia Pyeongchang, Intercontinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort, and Holiday Inn Resort Alpensia Pyeongchang with top-notch spa facilities.
Photo: Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort (Courtesy of Elysian Gangchon Resort)
Elysian Gangchon is a deluxe leisure complex that is only one hour away from Seoul by subway. Situated nearby Baegyang-ri Station (Seoul Subway Gyeongchun Line), it is also the only resort accessible by public transportation.
The ski resort has an assortment of snowboarding facilities, six lifts and ten slopes. Eight out of ten slopes are for beginner and intermediate skiers, and the remaining two slopes are for advanced skiers. The slopes have a stabilized canyon-type structure. When skiing down the ridges, skiers are able to enjoy the wide-open view of the beautiful scenery. For beginners who need a little extra help before heading out on their own, snowboarding or skiing lessons are also available for sign up.
Photo: High 1 Ski Resort
Located in one of the most pristine regions of Gangwon-do, High1 Ski Resort offers 18 fantastic slopes, each beginning at one of the park's three peaks. One of the peaks provides a 4.2 kilometer-long gently-sloping course for beginners. High1 Resort also has two slopes that have been used for World Cup ski competitions. The resort is known for its convenient facilities for people with disabilities and special needs.
High1 Resort offers state-of-the-art lifts including an automatic reading system for lift passes and a hands-free detection system. Nearby attractions include Gangwon Land Casino, a theme park, trekking routes, sleigh rides and a golf course, making it a family-friendly ski resort.
Photo: Oak Valley Snow Park
Adjacent to an oak tree forest (hence its name), Oak Valley Snow Park is smaller than most ski parks in Korea. As a result, it offers a cozy, welcoming atmosphere and skiing slopes free from the usual crowds. The resort has nine slopes (two for beginners, five for intermediate, and two for advanced skiers), and operates a high-speed lift for skiers to quickly get back up the mountain to enjoy as much skiing as possible. Oak Valley Snow Park is one of the best parks for snowboarders because there are no crowds and plenty of space to try new maneuvers! The resort operates a ski and snowboarding school as well as sleigh rides for beginners.
Photo: Snowboarding at Bears Town Ski Resort (Courtesy of Bears Town Ski Resort)
Bears Town Resort is a great place for a one-day ski or snowboard trip since it is only about 50 minutes away from Seoul. It is the first resort in Korea to adopt the equipment rental system for guests to enjoy skiing or snowboarding even without bringing their own gear.
The resort offers a total of ten slopes with one slope exclusively for experts, two slopes for advanced, three slopes for advanced/intermediate, two slopes for intermediate, and two slopes for beginners. The resort is also a popular family destination because of its long sledding hill measuring 400 meters in length.
Photo: View of Star Hill Resort (Courtesy of Star Hill Resort)
Located in Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Star Hill Resort is about 32 km away from Seoul making it possible for visitors to enjoy a full day of skiing without having to stay overnight. Each of the six slopes has its own exclusive lift, drastically cutting down wait times. This small, cozy resort nestled in the beautiful Cheonmasan Mountain has well-developed facilities and a convenient location that made it increasingly popular among visitors from Seoul and the nearby metropolitan area.
Photo: Jisan Forest Ski Resort ski slope at night (Courtesy of Jisan Forest Ski Resort)
Located in Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, Jisan Forest Resort is only 40 minutes away from Gangnam in Seoul, meaning that even if accommodations are fully booked, visitors can make a daytrip out to this beautiful ski resort. There are seven main ski slopes and three sub-slopes, all of which are open to both skiers and snowboarders. Thanks to the five high-speed lifts, there is no waiting in line, and there is even an escalator for children and beginners. The lifts are equipped with heated seats for a warm, comfortable ride. Even though this particular resort is on a smaller scale, it is packed with convenient facilities at inexpensive prices. The resort is a great value for its price, thus providing visitors an affordable winter sports experience without sacrificing quality.
Photo: View of Yangji Pine Resort Ski Valley (Courtesy of Yangji Pine Resort)
Located in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, the Yangji Pine Resort Ski Valley offers a sledding hill, six ski lifts, and ten slopes for various skill levels. Night skiing is very popular at Yangji Pine Resort as the well-lit slopes give visitors opportunity to enjoy a nighttime skiing experience even past midnight. The park also offers ski lessons for all ages, welcoming beginners who are new to the experience.
Photo: Gwangju Konjiam Resort Ski
Located in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, Konjiam Resort is the largest ski resort in the Seoul vicinity, offering nine slopes with varying degrees of difficulty, as well as five ski lifts. The resort also limits its number of daily skiers to a maximum of 7,000 skiers per day in order to offer the best skiing experience with a wait time of 15 minutes or less. 70% of the slopes are reserved for beginner/intermediate skiers and senior citizens, perfect for families. Furthermore, there are also other amenities in the resort including an arboretum, ecological river, spa and other auxiliary facilities.
Photo: Muju Deogyusan Ski Resort
Located inside Deogyusan National Park in Muju, Jeollabuk-do, the Muju Deogyusan Resort has long been a popular ski destination for both Korean and international skiers. This gorgeous mountain ski resort not only has a large number of ski courses, but also has breathtaking views that allow skiers to take in the beauty of the snow-covered slopes while they ski.
The resort's Silk Road Slope, which starts 1,520 meters above sea level from the peak of Mount Deogyusan, is a fantastic course that skiers describe as "gliding through the clouds." At 6.1km in length, the Silk Road Slope is the longest run in Korea and was designed for both beginner and intermediate skiers. For those who want a refreshing experience, try the outdoor hot springs after a day of skiing.
Photo: View of Eden Valley Resort (Courtesy of Eden Valley Resort)
As the only ski resort in the Gyeongsang region, Eden Valley Resort provides an environment fit for skiers in all levels. Of the seven slopes (ranging in length from 454 meters to 1,495 meters), two are for beginners, three are for intermediate skiers and two are for advanced skiers. Each slope has a different starting point, but they all wind gently down along the mountainside to come together at the base. The three lifts are fast in their service so that there is hardly any waiting in line.
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* This column was last updated in November 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.