In the peak of winter, Korea sees temperatures plummet and flurries fall. Snow is a common sight in the country when the weather gets cold, particularly in certain areas of the country. Pyeongchang is perhaps one of the most famous provinces for this – as host to the winter Olympics in 2018, its slopes were centre stage for the whole world to watch.
This year, it’s no less of a focal point for tourists. Korea holds multiple snow festivals all over the country. The festivals are a celebration of winter, of ice and the beauty it creates. It’s a wonderful way to remember just how stunning this aspect of mother nature can be, rather than seeing the disruptions it causes our all too busy modern lives.
In Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang, Daegwallyeong Snow festival is held annually, this year between the 7th and 22nd of February. It began all the way back in 1933 and as its popularity soared, it was named one of the top 12 cultural festivals in Korea in 2000. Daegwallyeong is often referred to as the Alps of Korea due to its 700 m high valley that receives heavy snowfall every winter.
Its many areas showcase fantastic creations of snow and ice. An ice sculpture exhibition is the main draw. Made by talented sculptors, these towering creations range from animals of all sizes to large scale recreations of famous builds. At night, LED’s illuminate them, the glow lighting up the carved walkways and tunnels that take visitors around the exhibits. It’s a unique and stunning way to experience the snow and only one of many more.
Alongside the sculptures, there’s snow sledding and a huge ice slide which children (of all ages, big and small) will no doubt be drawn to. Two main events also occur on days throughout the festival, one of which being a fairy tale snow parade, and the other being a fireworks display. The Pyeongchang Trout Festival usually falls at the same time too, so visiting both festivals whilst in the area is easy for visitors.
Korea is lucky to experience both the stunning heat of summer and the beauty of snow in winter. It’s festivals like this that truly celebrate one end of these extremes in a way that Korea does perfectly. Check out this short video from KBS World Radio for a small glimpse into areas of the festival.