Welcome to the 2018/19 Korean Ski Season!

Hello all, hope you enjoyed the summer wherever you spent it (I was mostly sweating it out in Osaka & Seoul). The autumn colours were lovely last month in Korea, and now it’s finally time to get back on the ski slopes!

Autumn colours on Namsan, Seoul

Autumn colours on Namsan, Seoul

The last few weeks have been a bit frustrating though, as the November temperatures have been warmer than usual. It actually got quite cold at the end of October and the higher resorts started making snow, but then the mercury rose again and the snow all melted. For this reason the resorts haven’t known when they’d be able to open, and I haven’t been able to answer all your queries about opening dates.

Thankfully the nighttime temperatures are plummeting again this week (we’re expecting minus 6 Celsius in Seoul tomorrow night) and the resorts can finally crank up the snowmaking. They’ve also had a dusting of natural snow, check out the live webcam at Yongpyong here. Only one slope open and still a pretty thin covering as you can see, but most Gangwon-do resorts were able to open over the weekend of November 23rd-25th (only one or two slopes each, but ticket prices are discounted accordingly e.g. 20 dollars for 4 hours at Elysian this week). Meanwhile Alpensia said they’re going for Saturday December 1st; other resorts are yet to confirm, but they should hopefully all be up & running early December (except maybe Eden Valley down near Busan – I was in the area this week and it was warm enough for the idea of skiing to seem ludicrous). I’ll keep updating the page as & when more resorts confirm their opening dates (update: warmer temps & rain in Seoul at the start of December is delaying things further at the local hills. Scheduled to be much colder again from Dec 5th so hopefully they might manage to open over the weekend of the 8th):

High1: open (23rd)
Yongpyong: open (23rd)
Phoenix Park: open (23rd)
Welli Hilli: open (24th)
Vivaldi: open (24th)
Elysian: open (25th)
Oak Valley: open (29th)
Alpensia: open (1st)
O2 Resort: open (7th)
Star Hill: open (7th)
Bears Town: open (7th)
Jisan: open (8th)
Konjiam: open (9th)
Muju Deogyusan: open (10th)
Yangji Pine: open (12th)
Eden Valley: open (14th)

No big changes in the transportation situation for this season, but this is the first full normal (i.e. no Olympics) ski season since the Gangneung KTX opened, so hopefully Yongpyong & Alpensia will have shuttle buses from Jinbu Station. They haven’t confirmed this yet, but again I’ll update this post as soon as we know. Update: Yongpyong & Alpensia shuttle schedule from Jinbu here, 4 or 5 times per day each way; unfortunately it’s for resort guests only so you need to show a reservation confirmation to board.

Update: Oak Valley will be running a free shuttle bus direct from Seoul during peak season (December 15th to end February), schedule here, which is a massive improvement for getting there and makes it a nice easy day-trip alternative – it’s a great hill for beginners & low-intermediates.

Surprising news: O2 Resort near Taebaek has suddenly announced they’ll be open again this season, from December 7th. O2 shut down 5 years ago after struggling to compete with nearby High1, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes. I’ve never been, so am making plans to head over there in a few weeks to review it for the site.

As always, if you have any questions give me a shout below and I’ll get back to you.

8 comments on “Welcome to the 2018/19 Korean Ski Season!
  1. Vivienne says:

    May I know where is the best place to stay if my family plans to ski in Alpensia, YongPyong, High1 and Phoenix Park? Will Intercontinental Alpensia be a good base for us to travel to these ski slopes?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Vivienne,

      Yes, the Alpensia/Yongpyong area would make the most sense, and it’s a nice hotel so that seems a good choice. However be aware the journeys to Phoenix & High1 from there will take a while – I actually just answered a comment yesterday about how to get from Yongpyong to Phoenix Park, see those details here. As for High1, you’d take the resort shuttle bus (or taxi) to Jinbu Station, ride the KTX to Gangneung (20 mins), and change there to the ‘mugunghwa’ train (local train) to Gohan (2 hours); High1 has a free 10-minute shuttle bus from Gohan Station. You’re looking at 3 hours all-in from Alpensia to High1; a taxi would do it in maybe 1h45 for around 100 dollars (the train route would be around 15 dollars per person, assuming no taxis).

      Hope this helps and give me a shout if you have any further questions,

      • Vivienne says:

        Hi Simon

        Many thanks for the great advise. My plan now is to stay two nights at High1 Convention Hotel so that my family can ski in High1. After which, I may have to choose either to stay in Intercontinental Alpensia to cover the Alpensia and YongPyeong ski slopes OR stay in Phoenix Hotel to just cover the Phoenix slope for another three days. If you have to choose, which will be a better option pls? Since I have kids with me (2, 11 and 13 years old) and we prefer to eat out rather than in the hotel, is Alpensia OR Phoenix Park area more vibrant please?
        My family will be renting a car to drive around to go to these ski places. Hope to get your advise please. Thanks

        • Simon Norton says:

          Right ok, having a car is a big help. I think I’d go for Alpensia – from a skiing perspective, 3 days at Phoenix might get a bit repetitive (though of course it depends what level you all are), whereas staying 3 days at Alpensia you could have a day on Alpensia’s slopes and 2 days at Yongpyong (Alpensia’s tiny, Yongpyong’s pretty big, Phoenix is in the middle). And of course you could still drive over to Phoenix for a day from Alpensia too.

          In terms of eating out, there’s a handful of restaurants over the road from Phoenix Park, while Alpensia just has a few non-hotel restaurants located within the resort; however from Alpensia you can drive 5 minutes into Daegwallyeong town to eat there. So again, I think Alpensia would be slightly better in this department too.

  2. Zoe says:

    Dear All,

    I just went up to konjiam today and its not yet open and the staff at the ticketing office is unsure of when is the open day

    Just a heads up if anyone of you is planning to go, maybe give them a call😂

    We know how to go up know from Dongdaemun History culture park station, thanks to the information here but the resort is not yet OPEN!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Zoe,

      Sorry to hear about your wasted effort, thanks for taking the time to share this update here for other readers.

      Just to reiterate, the Seoul area hills are not open yet due to unseasonably warm temperatures & rain recently. If the resort is not listed on this page as being open, don’t go!

      For the time being, if you’re in Seoul and want to make an easy day trip you should head to Elysian Gangchon or Vivaldi Park.

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