2019 updates

For updates on the start of 2019/2020 season see here

The 2018/19 season was a late starter due to higher than usual November temperatures, and it’s continued to be a relatively mild winter (by Korean standards) since then. The mountains have had very little natural snowfall (pretty much none in the Seoul area resorts), and while they’re all doing a typically good job of grooming and keeping everything skiable there isn’t much base and we’re probably looking at an earlier than usual finish (late Feb to early March) unless February brings some heavy snowfall. Fingers crossed!

I was up at Phoenix Park last week and they were still hadn’t finished building the halfpipe even in late January – had a chat to the park crew who lamented the lack of snow this season. Welli Hilli Park have finished their halfpipe, but seem to be struggling to keep it groomed & open (the regular runs are obviously higher priority).

Personally I spent the first half of the season doing the rounds of the resorts to update the info & pictures on the site, and have bought a half-season pass for Welli Hilli Park which is where I’ll be spending my remaining ski days for this winter – broke my arm on one of the jumps there last season, so will take it easy in the terrain park this year! I also still need to get over and check out O2 Resort which has partially re-opened a few years after closing down – planning to do that next week (update: this never happened because I broke my ribs! It’s first on the list for next season). I also spent a fun day teaching a couple of friends, hadn’t coached anyone for years but they did pretty well:

Teaching friends at Welli Hilli Park

Teaching friends at Welli Hilli Park

Have been getting a few emails & comments already asking about closing dates, I’ll update this post with those when they start being announced in a few weeks – as always, give me a shout below if you have any questions.

Update: closing dates confirmed now as follows. Konjiam March 3rd, Elysian Gangchon March 3rd, Star Hill March 3rd, Jisan March 3rd, Bears Town early March (expect it’ll be March 3rd, but shuttle service ends on Feb 28th), Eden Valley March 3rd (plus an extra day open on the 9th), Oak Valley March 2nd, Alpensia March 10th, Well Hilli Park March 10th, Vivaldi Park March 18th, High1 & Yongpyong March 24th.

Note that you can usually get around a 50% discount on lift passes in these final weeks of the season.

Doing the rounds:

High1 Resort

High1

Oak Valley

Oak Valley

View of Yongpyong from Alpensia

Nice view of Yongpyong from the top of Alpensia

Terrain park at Welli Hilli

Welli Hilli Park


68 comments on “2019 updates
  1. Hessa says:

    Hi,
    I will be in Seoul around end Feb and wondering should I still visit the Ski resort? Do you have any recommendation which one should I go? (I am ski noob)
    To be exact, I am looking at 27/28 Feb.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Hessa,

      Vivaldi Park would be a good choice for you. Let me know if you have any questions!

    • Hang says:

      Dear Simon,

      We plan to go Seoul for skiing in the beginning of December 2019, around 6-10th December. Is there any ski resort openning?

      Thanks.

      • Simon Norton says:

        Hi Hang,

        Yes they should be open by then, if you look here you can see the opening dates from last season. If you want to do a day trip from Seoul, Vivaldi Park is a good choice

        • Hằng says:

          Thank you Simon. We are considering to go Jisan Ski Resort because it’s close to Seoul. Do you know the information about free shuttle bus to there?

          • Simon Norton says:

            You can find the info on my Jisan page, but it’s hard for overseas visitors to book the shuttle bus. It’s actually more convenient to go to Vivaldi, even though it’s further away. Or consider Bears Town, which has a really good shuttle service you can book online (and the bus company offers good discounts for lift tickets too)

  2. Will Wu says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the guide and information. Was just wondering whether any other closing dates were set for the ski resorts. Headed to Seoul 1st of March, would you have any recommendations?

    Kind Regards

  3. Ben says:

    Are there any further updates on Yongpyong? I’ve tried contacting the resort via email, Facebook (Korean & English) and email, but no response. Thanks in advance.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Ben,

      You can check the calendar here. 주간 means daytime and 야간 is night skiing; closing day presently scheduled for the 24th.

      • Ben says:

        Awesome. Thanks for the quick response. The English website doesn’t give those dates, just events, and it stops at a photo event on 19th Feb. So, there’s no way I would have found that calendar without your help.

        So, it seems daytime skiing will remain open until the 24th. Evening/Night skiing was until the 2nd, then evening skiing again on the 8/9th. I also saw on the Korean Facebook page a post about the cable car now remaining open until 31st March.

        (And sorry I posted twice – all done via mobile and I was unsure whether I was submitting or posting a comment as no confirmation is given!)

        • Simon Norton says:

          No worries, that’s my fault, unfortunately I don’t quite have the budget for this site to ensure a super sexy user experience! But yes you have those dates correct, and yes their English site is always out of date!

  4. Farid says:

    hi There,
    Me and my family is going to Seoul Next weel 23-29/3. Will there still a good time to visit Jisan for some snowy view or even sledding for our kids?

    Thanks!

  5. Jane says:

    Hi Simon,

    What a fab blog- love the tips; I’ll be abusing the one about the discounted lift passes in particular!

    We’re planning on a week’s skiing this year in Yongpyeong starting on Boxing Day and I’m looking into getting to the resort directly from Incheon Airport … any wisdom pearls you can drop will be greatly appreciated!

    Kindly, and with thanks,
    Jane.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Jane,

      Always good to hear the site’s useful, cheers!

      See here for info on direct buses from the airport to Yongpyong.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

  6. Dave says:

    Hi hi,

    Me and my family will be visiting Seoul beginning Dec and would like to stay at one of the ski resorts near Seoul for a night or two, both princesses are 12 and 16, never had ski before.

    Any good recommendation?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Dave, I’d suggest perhaps Vivaldi Park, as it has English-speaking instructors, good non-skiing activities (water park and Snowy Land), and is super easy to reach from Seoul

  7. Don says:

    Hi Simon, we’re visiting seoul for 5 days from 4/12/19 – 9/12/19. What’s your experience with the snow season during those time? Do resorts open around the same time? Keen to squeeze in a full day sess or two. Cheers Don

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Don, the resorts usually open in mid to late November, but things can be pretty patchy throughout December in terms of how many runs they actually have open. Really depends on whether any natural snow falls, and how early the temperatures drop low enough for them to crank the snowmaking. If you’re beginner or low intermediate you should be happy enough with Vivaldi Park, if you’re more advanced it’s worth the extra effort to get over to Yongpyong, or Phoenix Park or Welli Hilli Park if you want to ride park.

  8. Adeline Poh says:

    Hi Simon, do you have any info for the 2019/2020 season? I would like to know the rates for the ski lift passes from 08 to 12 December 2019. Also the snowboarding board and boots rental rates for the Phoenix park ski slopes.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Adeline, they don’t announce that information until just before they open (Korea tends to have a very ‘last minute’ approach). But if you check the prices from last season (see here), they will basically be the same or slightly higher (e.g. lift passes often increase in price by 1000 KRW each year)

  9. Jane says:

    Hi! Me and my son(9yrs old) is going to korea this Nov 26-29, 2019 to experience the snow and the ski activity. But until now i dont have any idea if during our stay in korea some of the ski resort is open for ski adventure (basic only) that time. Thank you

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Jane, if you look here you can see the opening dates from last season. The opening date varies according to the weather conditions in October/November, last season was later than average and you should usually be ok for Nov 26-29 but note that it can’t be guaranteed. I’d recommend Vivaldi Park as it’s usually one of the earliest to open, and it’s very easy to get there from Seoul (free direct tourist bus from Myeongdong) and caters well to beginners and non-skiers.

  10. Kevin says:

    Hi Simon – thanks for your posts, they are very helpful.

    Planning to be in Seoul over the Christmas period. I’m an upper intermediate and would be interested in your opinion on the best ski resort with intermediate/advanced slopes closer to Seoul (appreciating that there are limited options compared to Gangwon area). Looks like it might be Bears Town or Vivaldi?

    Thanks

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Kevin, yes the best in the near vicinity would be Bears Town. Vivaldi is actually just across the border in Gangwon-do, but if you’re willing to spend the extra 30 mins to get there it’s probably worth it (and in fact depending where your hotel’s located it might not even take longer). Vivaldi is the best resort you can hit in <2 hours travel time from Seoul. Exception to this would be if you want to ride park, in which case head to Jisan Forest

  11. Siew Siew says:

    I will be travelling to Seoul during year ends session and planning to stay at ski resort from 24 – 26 December 2019. However I couldn’t get any accommodation resort at Vivaldi Park. How to reserve the room there?

  12. Cindy says:

    Hi, my family of 8 which include 1 senior and 2 youth of 13 to 17yo will be going to Seoul for ski from 18th to 20th Dec 2019. This is the 1st time we will be skiling, I am not sure which is the most suitable ski resorts to go. Hoping to stay in the hop in hop out ski type of resort. Could be kindly advice.

  13. Roy says:

    Hi Simon,
    Do you have any idea that any ski resort opened during april? Got a plan to visit seoul on 11 april 2020 and would love to spend couple days far from crowd.
    Appreciate for your advise.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Roy, sorry mate no chance – they close in March, even the highest resorts are usually done by the final weekend in March. If you look here you can see the closing dates from last season (5th paragraph down), it was a poor season so those are slightly early but even a good season would only be a week later, 2 at best.

  14. TM Tan says:

    Hi Simon,

    I have 6 paxs with luggauges.
    Can you advise how i can i get to Phoenix Park from Busan?

    Thanks

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hello, while it may be possible to find a bus (which would probably be cheaper, but slower), I’d do this journey by bullet train via Seoul. Take the KTX from Pyeongchang Station to Seoul Station, then transfer to the KTX for Busan. There are free shuttle buses from Phoenix Park to Pyeongchang Station, total journey time around 4.5 hours depending on transfers. See the train travel section here (near bottom of page) for links to book train tickets.

  15. Poonam says:

    Hi can we go for a day trip with family with kids to any good beginner ski resort trip and stay at Seoul.

  16. T H says:

    Hi Simon,
    I looking forward to stay in Vivaldi Park hotel in Feb 2020. however it seem rooms are fully room . I follow your link to search for alternative room Trazy.com (https://www.trazy.com/experience/detail/vivaldi-park-ski-resort-room-reservation). pls advise how far is this away from ski park and the hotel. Thank you very much

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi, it’s the main condo building next to the ski slope base area. You just have to walk across the car park to reach the ski lifts

  17. Laura T. says:

    Hi,
    I would like to know when will Vivaldi snowyland will open this year?
    I’ll be traveling to Korea at the begining of December, wondering if it would be possible to go there at that time see that all the package are starting on 15th Dec.

    Thanks for the answer

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Laura, we don’t know the exact date yet, but yes it’ll be mid-December. If you’re too early you can still visit Vivaldi and get the ‘one time ticket’ (for 15000 won) to go up the main ski gondola, there’s a cafe at the top with nice views.

  18. Katherine says:

    Hi Simon,
    So glad to chance upon your page. My family (with 3 kids 6, 11 & 13 yo) is planning to do a 3D/2N (27-29 Nov) at a ski resort at the end of our Seoul trip. All non-skiers. I looked at some of the resorts, they seem to have small rooms to accommodate 5 of us in 1 room. What would you recommend? Or should I do a day trip instead?
    Thanks for your advice.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Katherine,

      If you’re planning to go for 3D/2N it makes sense to travel out to one of the better resorts like High1 or Yongpyong, you should be able to find suitable accommodation there. If you decide on a day trip I tend to recommend Vivaldi Park due to ease of access and ease of arranging English language lessons for beginners.

  19. KATE LEE says:

    I wish to ski during 16/11/2019
    Kindly advice which of the ski resort is open that time. Thanks.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Kate,

      That’s very early in the season, depending on the weather there might not be anywhere open yet. But if it’s cold enough early enough then a couple of the larger resorts might have a run or 2 open, best bets would be Vivaldi Park & Yongpyong. If you look here you can see the opening dates from last season (which were slightly late)

  20. Tey Elvis says:

    Hi Simon.
    This blog is exceptionally helpful. Keep it up. My family of 10pax are planning to go Seoul next February 9th to 20th for a snow adventure. Any suggestion where to go for skiing or stay at any resort that isn’t too expensive for 1 or 2 nights? Thanks

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Tey,

      For 1 or 2 nights I’d recommend Vivaldi Park, Alpensia, Yongpyong, or High1.

      For the most convenient journey, Vivaldi is the best choice – it’s suitable for beginners to intermediate. Vivaldi is also the best for anyone in your family who doesn’t want to ski, because they can visit the Snowy Land attraction instead.

      If your family members are intermediate to advanced, it would be better to go to Yongpyong or High1.

      If you’re all beginners, Alpensia is another good option; it’s a longer journey than Vivaldi, but the resort is more modern so the accommodation & facilities are better.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions

  21. Teye elvis says:

    Thanks Simon for time and effort to reply and provide countless useful guides and tips. Cheers

  22. Katie Sinyoung says:

    Hi Simon,

    So glad I’ve found you blog!
    I’ve never experienced snow and ski before 🙂

    So, I think sledding is best for my first time. ^ ^”
    I will be at Seoul around this 5-10 december 2019.
    Any recommend for a sledding place?
    and… is there a snow at that period?

    ^ ^
    I’ve found this place
    ‘Ttukseom Han River Park Snow Slope 뚝섬 한강공원 눈썰매장’
    But don’t know if it snow at that time.
    Please advice

    Thank you very much for your time!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Katie,

      I’ve seen the Ttukseom sledding slope from the subway, but no I don’t think it will be open. It’s still 20 degrees now in Seoul even though it’s November, so it’s not looking great for the start of this season. Anyway, the Ttuskeom slope is really small, it’s better to go to a ski resort.

      However, the sledding slopes often don’t open until mid-December even at the ski resorts. The best chance might be Oak Valley, their sledding opened on December 5th last year (as you can see here). But like I said it’s still really warm for this time of year, which is a bit concerning; fingers crossed the temperature drops quickly now!

      • Katie Sinyoung says:

        Hi Simon,

        Thank you very for the fast reply.

        At first plan, I put a high hope on Snowy land at Vivaldi resort.
        But Oak Valley is interesting if the sledding open.
        I see it’s not far from Vivaldi,
        that’s mean it still can do a one-day trip from Seoul right?

        And my second plan is
        May be I should try the ski for the beginner instead ^ ^” at bear town ^ ^
        Since I can only one-day trip and this place might be closer than the rest.

        Now the plan of ski day is on December 10th,
        do you have any recommendation or any concern point I should aware?

        Really,
        Thank you very much for your time

        Wish you have a wonderful winter 🙂

        Katie

        • Simon Norton says:

          Hi Katie, yes it’s easy to do a day trip to Oak Valley.

          Whether it’s easiest to get to Vivaldi, Bears Town, or Oak Valley, depends where you’re staying. Do you know which area you’re staying in Seoul?

  23. Joseph saran says:

    Hi Simon,
    I’m planning to visit south korea, mainly for skiing,at least 2 days in ski area. Any recommendations and would that be a lot of snow? .. I planned to visit around January 20th, 2020..

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Joseph, for 2 days I’d recommend Yongpyong or High1. These are also the places with the most snow, but to be honest there generally isn’t usually a lot of snow in Korea unless you get lucky

  24. KED says:

    Hello,

    We plan to ski at Pheonix ski resort around Christmas 2019. Will the resort open this year?

  25. Sashimi says:

    Hi Simon
    I had booked the free bus service to vivadi on 20 November.
    If ski is not open, any other options to try snowboarding or what other activities that can occupied me till 6pm return bus.
    Can I returned earlier bus service then?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Sashimi, to be honest I think it’s doubtful they’ll be open by the 20th. Last year they opened on the 24th, and the weather’s even warmer this autumn so I think they’ll probably open later this season. There isn’t much to do there if they’re not open, you might want to plan to do something else that day unless it suddenly gets cold & snows.

  26. KATIE SINYOUNG says:

    I just booked the place around hongdae, near Hongik station 🙂

    • Simon Norton says:

      Ok, so Vivaldi is going to be easiest from Hongdae – for this season the Vivaldi shuttle bus originates from Hongdae at 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30. I recommend the 8:30 as it only takes 2 hours (the others are 2.5 hours)

  27. Najah says:

    Hi Simon,
    I”ll be there on this December 15th- 19th. It is winter on that time? I just want to know to prepare thick cloth by the way.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Najah, yes you’ll need winter clothing. This year is much warmer than usual so far, but December will still be pretty cold!

  28. sabrina says:

    Hi Simon,

    Im going to korea on 15 december. Is there any way I can check when does snowy land open?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Sabrina, it opened on December 15th last year. The dates for this year aren’t known yet, but the weather’s been much too warm so everything’s late. Keep checking their website for opening updates, or my post here

  29. Miriam says:

    Hi Simon,
    My husband and I are in Korea at the moment but flying home Monday 18th November. Had really hoped to fit 1 day of skiing in but looking online (and feeling the temperatures!) doesn’t look like anything will be open in time. Have you heard of anywhere opening this weekend? Thank you!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Miriam, they were finally able to start seriously making snow last night at Yongpyong, but no I don’t think they’ll be open this weekend. No opening dates have been announced yet.

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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

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