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)

Elysian Gangchon

Opening week at Elysian: only 1 run open, but only 20 dollars

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 February 2nd), 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. Bears Town also has a much improved shuttle service this season, making it much easier to get to and probably the most convenient Seoul hill now for DIY day trips.

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.


60 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.

  3. Sara says:

    hi, thanks for putting tog the useful info about Phoenix snow park. Appreciate some insight on the following:
    1) May I know if there is a website to book for skiing class and snowboarding class.
    2) Is it enough to ski on our 1st day and learn to snowboard on 2nd day? And 3rd day I wish to do some snow fishing and snow rafting. May I know if it’s possible?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Sara,

      It’s not necessary to book lessons in advance, you can visit the ski school counter at the resort. If you prefer to book, check out the packages here (these can work out cheaper with rentals etc)

      By snow rafting, do you mean snow sledding? If so, yes that is also available. As for snow fishing, I guess you’re thinking of the Pyeongchang Trout Festival? It’s in Jinbu town, around 30 minutes by taxi (30 dollars) from Phoenix Park.

      Let me know if you have any more questions

  4. Kathy says:

    Hi,

    I’m planning for a trip to Seoul in early March 2019. Will the ski resort still open during that time?

    Thank you.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Yes, but you’ll want to head over to the higher resorts like Phoenix Park, Yongpyong, or High1 (all listed under ‘Gangwon-do’ in the top menu)

  5. Daphne Lim says:

    When is high1 open till? 19th mar still possible?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hard to say, they usually close around that time. It varies depending on the temperature, so if it’s a cold March they could still be open then, if it’s a warm March they probably won’t.

  6. Sibe Mennema says:

    Hi Simon, thanks so much for putting all of this together. Having so far only ever skied in the European Alps, I had no clue what to expect before arriving in Korea. I now understand a lot better what the possibilities are and where to go. If I have any useful feedback on any of the areas, I will certainly leave a remark, so that I can contribute my bit.

    Enjoy the winter!

    Sibe.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Sibe,

      Thanks, I do my best to get around and revisit the resorts regularly to keep things updated, but it’s always great to get fresh feedback & reports from readers after they’ve been skiing somewhere.

      I have to say, Korea’s skiing really doesn’t compare to the Alps – I learned to snowboard in Austria, and it’s on a completely different level. But as long as you have your expectations set accordingly and focus on the better resorts you can still have some great days skiing here.

      Cheers!

  7. Tom says:

    I went to Phoenix Park on New Year’s Day and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of snow given the high traffic, and the dispersal rate across the slopes. Half-pipe was closed, and some of the terrain sections were only open at night. Recommend the 14:30-23:00 ticket for day-trippers; best value, give yourself time to get out that way without being in a rush, and allow for the crowd to thin out. Get familiar with the slopes during daytime, take some nice photos, then relax during the grooming break and head back out for a faster, less crowded experience.

    Did Jisan this past Saturday (5 Jan) as well. Again, remarkably well maintained snow but SUPER crowded, particularly with novice snowboarders. It did NOT thin out during any time period, and in fact, seemed busier as the night progressed. Terrain park was barely in use, and looked healthy. I also disovered, that in addition to the generous passport discount (30%, I think), they also have a 50% military discount, applicable to rental as well.

    Thank you Simon for putting so much helpful information together! I’ve read everything on the site, and am making the most of what will probably be a short season from the sound of things.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks a lot for taking the time to post this update – I haven’t been out to Phoenix yet this season (or to Jisan either actually) so very useful. Super crowded with novice snowboarders is pretty standard at the Seoul local hills on a weekend! I tend to avoid. Good to know about the military discount too, I had no idea.

      Yeah I don’t think this season’s going to be breaking any records, unless we get a solid dump or two in Jan/Feb I guess most resorts will end up closing slightly early.

      Thanks again for the update, cheers!

  8. Luciane says:

    Is there a chance the resorts close to Seoul to be open for Easter break?

    Thanks !

  9. Dennis says:

    Hello do you know when does the ski season ends? I’m looking at planning for a ski trip 20-28Mar, usually we go to Hokkaido where the snow is still good but we’ve heard from friends that Korea’s ski season ends earlier…

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Dennis,

      Sorry, no chance! The latest resorts usually close in mid to late March in a good year, but I think this season’s going to be an early finisher unless we get some big late dumps. Definitely stick to Japan! For future reference, the best time to come riding in Korea is mid-January to late February (even then, it really can’t even remotely compete with Hokkaido)

  10. Dennis says:

    oh bummer…. looks like there’s only snow in Korea 2 months in a year. Guess i’ll have to stick to the time tested powder of Japan. Thanks for the tip, very informative site you have there!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Well the season actually starts in November and runs through to mid-March, so it’s generally a 4-month season. But November & December are patchy snow-wise and the spring skiing’s not great in March, so I’d suggest only flying to Korea to ski in January or February. Cheers and enjoy the Japanese pow!

  11. Anna says:

    Hi, I know its a bit early to ask but im planning to go Korea end of this year and do some skiing. Which month do you think is better to go? End of November is ideal? Im intending to go Elysian Ski resort as it is already closeby Nami Island. Would appreciate your reply . Thank you 🙂

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Anna,

      No, sorry, end of November is not ideal! They usually only have 1 or 2 runs open by then – that’s fine if you just want to try skiing for the first time, but if you can already ski it would be best to come in January or February.

  12. Anson says:

    Hi, I’m planning to have a ski trip on 26march in yongpyong ski resort, is the resort still opening ? and when can i know the closing date of resort normally.
    thankyou

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Anson, sorry but they’re usually closed by then even in a good season, and unfortunately this is not a good season so far! If we’re very lucky and get some heavy snow in February then they might last until mid-March, otherwise it’ll probably be early March. If you check again in a month we should know by then

  13. Ron Fetalvero says:

    Hello, do you happen to know any skii resort still open around March 19-23, 2019? Your feedback will be a great help!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Ron,

      In a good season the higher resorts (High1, Yongpyong, Phoenix Park) would have a decent chance of still being open on those dates, but it seems unlikely at this point for this winter I’m afraid. If you check back in a few weeks we should have an idea of closing dates – fingers crossed for some heavy snow before then!

      • Ron Fetalvero says:

        Alright Simon. Will check back in with you as we near our travel dates. Really hoping for some open ski resorts still by that time. Really appreciate it!

  14. Scott says:

    Hi there, originally planned for Jisan Ski resort during my visit end o Feb but just checked and they will be close after 17 Feb.

    Do you have any other ski resort suggestion for us to visit during the last weekend of Feb? I am looking into these criteria:
    1) Kids friendly (a 4 years old niece that is very very excited and eager to see snow for the first time in her life)
    2) Not too troublesome to get to from Seoul
    3) Still opens on last weekend of Feb xD

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Scott,

      Yeah I’m afraid it’s been a bad season and the resorts will be closing earlier than usual, especially those close to Seoul. Your best bet for end of February is probably Vivaldi Park – nice & easy to get to, and should still be open.

  15. Heyy says:

    Hi may I know which resorts would probably still be open by March 11-12?

  16. Joy says:

    Any website to check exactly close date? We plan to go High1 14-16Mar.

    Our kids (7&8 yr,) are first time to see snow. They are the beginners. Could you suggest any place to go?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Joy,

      Sorry, it’s still too soon to know the closing date for High1. I guess they’ll try to stay open until at least the 17th, but it’ll depend on the temperatures between now and then. Try checking again in a couple of weeks

      • Lalita Joy says:

        Thank you Simon.

        If the ski house is close on 14-16 MAR , Are there have any activity to play snow around the HIGH1 hotel?

        Lalita Joy

        • Simon Norton says:

          You should still be able to ride the gondola to the top of the mountain, and there should still be some snow you can walk around on and take pictures, make a little snowman, etc

  17. Ong says:

    Hi,

    May I know the closing date for Eden Valley Ski Resort Busan? We are planning a visit on 8-9th Mar 2019.

  18. Sm says:

    Hi there!
    Would any ski resorts be open 18-21 march 2019? (:

    • Simon Norton says:

      Probably not I’m afraid, Yongpyong is the most likely to keep going that long but it doesn’t look likely. They should announce their closing date soon, so try checking back in a week.

  19. Lee Charmaine says:

    Hi! I am planning to go skiing 11th March and have problems reading the korean websites! Which ski resortd do you think will be open still

  20. Wai Ho says:

    Hi,

    May I know the closing date for Alpensia Ski Resort? We are planning a visit next week.

  21. Erin says:

    Hi, I would like to visit Eden Valley on 26 November 2019. Would the ski facilities be available by that day? As I heard many snow valley start to operate in December.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Erin, Eden Valley is usually the last resort to open due to the more southern location. If the weather’s very cold in November then it’s possible they could be open by then, but to be honest it’s unlikely – they usually open in early December.

  22. Summer says:

    Hi, I would like to go for ski resort during 12-23 Dec for 1 to 2 nights. I will be traveling from Jeonju back to Seoul. May I know which ski resort will you recommend for me and family to stay?

    We are beginner for ski and children are aged 13-15.

    Thank you!

  23. Stephen says:

    hi, Im arriving at seoul on 10th december 2019. Im planning to stay on ski resort for 2 nights (11 and 12). since im travelling with 11 and 12 yo children, can you suggest me which one? they want to learn snowboarding, and I’d prefer the one which is as close as possible from seoul (it would be better if they provide transportation to the resort). thanks for your help

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Stephen,

      Your best option is probably Vivaldi Park as they have a free tourist shuttle bus from Myeongdong, and they have English-speaking instructors available.

      • Stephen says:

        Thanks for your response, Im already opened their website, but they still dont have available rates for december. When should I make reservation for their resort? Many thanks for your help

        • Simon Norton says:

          Yeah, using the resorts’ own websites is usually pretty frustrating, which is the main reason I made this site in the first place. Instead of booking through their website it’s actually easier to book here, you should be able to do it already, or you could try here.

  24. Wendy foo says:

    Hi there..I plan to go to Korea this coming mid of July (summer) is there any ski resort during this season

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Wendy,

      Sorry, no, it’s way too hot for skiing in July! But you can still visit some of the larger resorts in summer e.g. Vivaldi Park has a popular water park.

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Hi I’m Simon, British snowboard addict & travel blogger presently based in NE Asia. I run this site to help international visitors plan their trips to Korean ski resorts; you might also be interested in my travel blog (especially the Korea sightseeing and Japan snowboarding content) or my new site Rugby Guide Japan (for fans visiting the 2019 RWC)

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