As temperatures continue to fall in South Korea, the ski season begins, running from now to around mid-February. Winter sports should be more popular than ever among the locals, as Pyeongchang-do is hosting the winter Olympic Games. So if you’re itching to visit the slopes in Korea, make sure you check the resort information and book as quickly as possible. Gangwon-do is the best province in South Korea for snow sports, as its altitude allows for the greatest snowfall, however some resorts here may close their slopes or be very busy this season due to the Games crowds.
A good alternative, Deogyusan Resort is one resort that’s popular with international holidaymakers. It’s within Deogyusan National Park in Muju, Jeollabuk-do. Deogyusan Resort has a large number of ski courses, and is home to the longest run in Korea, the 6.1km Silk Road Slope. It starts from the peak of Deogyusan Mountain, at 1,520 meters above sea level, but can be enjoyed by both beginner and intermediate skiers. Outdoor hot springs are great for soaking away your aches after a day of skiing. Check mdysresort.com for more information.
For more information on other ski resorts around the country, take a look at the Korea Tourism Organisation page.
As you’ll see from their webpages, most resorts have ski schools with instructors that speak English, so if you’re new to the slopes don’t worry. You can generally expect modern facilities, for example automated, digital lift-pass scanners at chairlifts. Lifts range from basic two-seaters to four-seat fast Pomas and enclosed gondolas. Equipment and clothing is available for rental in a variety of sizes.
Transport shouldn’t pose any problems either, as a new KTX rail line now connects Pyeongchang and Seoul, and almost every ski resort in South Korea offers a private shuttle service to and from both central Seoul and Incheon airport. If you’re planning any kind of travel in Korea during the winter season, Korail are offering a special pass for foreigners, though it’s only on sale until January 10th, so grab it while you can!