Snowboarding in Korea: A Very Flat Double Black and Bowls of Hottub Jello

Korea celebrated the Lunar New Year last weekend and we all got Monday off of work. We’d been getting lots of snow, even in the city, so it was a perfect time to take off and play on the slopes for a few days. Our mountain of choice? Phoenix Park, one of a few ski hills in the Pyeongchang region, about 180km east of Seoul.

The bus took about 3 hours, and when we arrived at the hill, it was snowing! Fresh powder, and near empty slopes. We strapped on our boards and had an amazing afternoon playing in the powder. But I won’t lie to you. We were bored of the runs after about 45 minutes. The double-black diamond is comparable to a groomed blue run on Whistler, and the green runs are, for all intensive purposes, flat. And full of skiiers and snowboarders sprawled on their faces and infants doing the pizza and crashing into petrified adults who are also doing the pizza. Every run is fenced in, which makes riding in the trees a near impossibility.  They boast 7 lifts. There are 12 trails. There are 7 lifts to service 12 trails, and yes, it is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds.

the Matching Couple Phenomenon is everywhere in Korea

But I can’t complain. Our hostel was right at the base of the mountain, literally ski-in-ski-out, with an awesome view of the half-pipe and terrain park. So after we’d gotten bored of the trails, we spent most of the remainder of the trip bouncing around the terrain park and flinging ourselves off jumps that were far too big for us.

Yes, this is a six person chair-lift.

Most ski resorts in Korea have night riding that is open late, and by late I mean well into the morning. On Saturday night, after one-too-many games of King’s Cup, a few of us decided it was high-time to go riding again, and hit the slopes from 2am until about 4am. We rode on fresh snow to the sound of deejays playing tunes under a crystal clear starry sky. Life is rough.

Although you can’t compare it to the mountains back home (it’s no Whistler), we definitely had a great time. There’s even a waterpark 5 minutes from the hostel with a wavepool (and yes, you’re expected to rent a life-jacket!), hottubs infused with things like pine and raspberries (they look like bowls of jello), two pitch-black waterslides, and an indoor-outdoor swiming loop with a current! There’s another 3-day weekend coming up, and before the snow melts, we might just have to do it again. :)