I’m often asked which is the best ski resort in Korea, and I always answer that it depends what you’re looking for. So here’s the lowdown on the best resorts in Korea, presented in top-3s:
Best All-Round Korean Ski Resorts
=1. High1 & Yongpyong
For all-mountain riding, High1 and Yongpyong are the two standout ski resorts in Korea. Yongpyong was the original (built in the 70s), while High1 is just a decade old. Both are high enough to not be reliant on snowmaking (as most Korean resorts are), are relatively large, have a good mix of terrain, and make reasonable effort with their terrain parks.
3. Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is mostly famed for its freestyle offerings, with a halfpipe and arguably the country’s best terrain park (see below) along with Welli Hilli Park. Freestyle aside though, Phoenix Park is larger than Welli Hilli and is the 4th-largest ski area in Korea; this means it offers decent downhill skiing in addition to great freestyle, making it a good all-round option.
Best Korean Ski Resorts for Freestyle (Park)
=1. Phoenix Park & Welli Hilli Park
=3. High1 & Yongpyong
High1 and Yongpyong are great all-round resorts, and they don’t neglect their freestyle offerings; while not nearly as impressive as Phoenix and Welli Hilli, they do both have sizeable, decent quality terrain parks.
Best Korean Ski Resorts for Halfpipe
There are only four halfpipes in Korea. In no particular order:
Phoenix Park has a superpipe and will host the Pyeongchang 2018 halfpipe events (if you want to ride pipe in the 2017/18 season, go to one of the others!)
Welli Hilli Park
The halfpipe at Welli Hilli Park is almost always well-cut and in good nick; it’s also located right in front of the base area, so everyone can see you eat shit!
Vivaldi Park‘s is the closest halfpipe to Seoul, and the only one you can reach by free shuttle bus.
High1 and Yongpyong are the best two resorts in Korea, but if you’re a pipe enthusiast only the former ticks that box!
Best Korean Resorts for Downhill Skiing
1. Jeongseon Alpine Centre
Jeongseon Alpine Centre was built specifically to host the Pyeongchang 2018 downhill events, and won’t be open to the general skiing public until winter 2018/19. Once it does open, though, it’s set to be the best piece of downhill ski terrain in the country, very much by design – it was necessary to build it in the first place because the existing resorts didn’t meet the minimum requirements for the Olympic Downhill.
2. Muju Deogyusan
The southern location isn’t great for the snow quality, and there’s no freestyle on offer, but Muju Deogyusan has the biggest vertical drop and the longest runs in the country (at least until Jeongseon opens). The setting in Deogyusan National Park also gives it the best views!
=3. High1 & Yongpyong
All-round star resorts High1 and Yongpyong don’t quite match Muju Deogyusan for vertical drop, but they’re not far off and both offer a good selection of sections and runs. They also both get better snow than Muju so will often actually be better, especially early or late in the season.
Most Convenient Ski Resorts from Seoul (without a car)
Konjiam can be accessed by subway (with a frequent shuttle bus from the station) or by free shuttle bus from points all over the city, taking under an hour depending on your starting point; they also have a flexible ticketing system, making this by far the most convenient hill from Seoul. The quality of the riding is also reasonable for a Seoul area local hill.
2. Elysian Gangchon
Although located in Gangwon-do province, Elysian Gangchon can be reached on the Seoul Metro or the ITX Cheongchun express train (with regular shuttle buses from the station) which actually makes it easier to reach than the other resorts closer to Seoul (excluding Konjiam). They also have free shuttle buses, though the driving time to Elysian is a fair bit longer than to Konjiam.
3. Vivaldi Park
Vivaldi Park is another Gangwon-do resort which is actually very convenient to Seoul, thanks in particular to their free shuttle bus for international tourists. It only takes 90 minutes from Myeongdong and costs you nothing, making Vivaldi more convenient than Seoul hills like Jisan Forest and Yangji Pine – and it’s a bigger & better hill (Vivaldi is the biggest hill you can reach from Seoul for free)
What do you think about this list? Agree? Think it’s nonsense? Leave a comment below!
Best Korean Ski Resorts Durong Pyeongchang 2018
Be aware that the four Pyeongchang 2018 host resorts will be partly or completely closed if you visit during the Olympic season, so check out the best Korean ski resorts to hit in the 2017/18 season
Also see here for full reviews of every resort in the country; and here for a size comparison of all ski hills in Korea using satellite imagery!
If you’re looking for Pyeongchang 2018 accommodation options, see here