Pyeongchang Olympics October 2017 Update

The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic halfpipe at Phoenix Park

The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics are now only 4 months away, but many would-be visitors are still in two minds about coming due to uncertainties over accommodation and transportation. It does look like a majority of visitors will be staying in Seoul and travelling on the new KTX bullet train to the Olympic venues, but recent announcements regarding the KTX mean this should work out fine.

Pyeongchang 2018 Accommodation

Most hotels are now booked out in Pyeongchang, Gangneung, Donghae, and Wonju. Sokcho still has some availability, and Seoul has plenty. See here for a full guide on where to stay

Pyeongchang 2018 Transportation

Korail has announced a Pyeongchang Rail Pass for the Olympics; this is key for anyone staying in Seoul and making repeated round trips on the new KTX train to the venues. Details here

Standing room will be available on the KTX, easing worries about capacity

Yongpyong and Phoenix Park have confirmed they’ll have shuttle buses from their nearest KTX stations (Jinbu and Pyeongchang, respectively) for guests and skiers throughout the season; Alpensia will have no direct shuttle from the station, but can be reached by hourly shuttle from Yongpyong (during the Olympics the events will be accessed by separate shuttle buses for ticket holders only)

For full details on the new train line see here

Olympic Host Resort Closures

Alpensia have now confirmed they won’t be opening at all for skiing this winter (sledding will be available though). This completes the season schedules for the ski hills at the host resorts, as follows:

Yongpyong open all season, but with the Rainbow and Silver areas (gondola included) closed off

Phoenix Park open until January 20th, with Phoenix Peak closed off but most of Mont Blanc (the main hill) open bar the boardercross and halfpipe.

Alpensia closed (but with sledding available prior to the Olympics)

Jeongseon not open to public

(For the best places to actually do some skiing yourself during the Olympic season, see here)

Any questions? Leave a comment below!


55 comments on “Pyeongchang Olympics October 2017 Update
  1. Pierre says:

    Hi – very helpful website thank you very much for putting all of this together!
    We did well by booking early and have got accomodation in a pension near Jinbu-Myeon, where I believe there is a KTX station.
    I am however worried about the transportation between the pension and the KTX station, even though c.4-5 miles away only. Do you expect to see taxis available?
    Also if we have tickets for an event every day, am I correct in thinking we’ll have access to shuttles everyday and therefore do not need a KTX weekly pass?
    Thank you so much in advance for your thoughts.

    • snorton says:

      Hi Pierre, thanks for reading & commenting!

      You’ve done very well to get somewhere in Jinbu, you’re in pretty much the perfect spot by the sound of it. Yes I’d imagine there’ll be plenty of taxis at the Jinbu KTX station (though demand might be pretty high so you may have to wait a while). For taxis from your pension to the station, I’d guess you’ll need to call one to come & pick you up – get hold of the local taxi firm’s numbers when you arrive.

      And yes you’re right, there’ll be shuttles from the KTX stations to the events. For events at Alpensia & Yongpyong, you can take the shuttles from Jinbu Station. For events at Phoenix Park I think you’ll need to ride the KTX one stop to Pyeongchang Station then take the shuttle from there; likewise for Coastal Cluster events I think you’ll need to take the KTX one stop to Gangneung then take a shuttle from the station there… as these are only 1-stop journeys they won’t cost much, so no you won’t need a KTX pass. Also there may possibly turn out to be free shuttle buses available between the clusters, though this isn’t clear right now.

      Hope this helps, and if you have any further questions feel free!

  2. cat says:

    Would alpensia be open for skiing in december 2017?

    • snorton says:

      Hi Cat,

      No, I’m afraid Alpensia’s ski slopes won’t be open in December. They’re not offering any skiing at all for the 2017/18 season; tobogganing will still be available, but that’s all.

      Yongpyong will be open in December though, so if you’ve got accommodation booked at Alpensia you can ski at Yongpyong. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  3. Iman says:

    Hi there, would Phoenix park be open during end december?

  4. Andrey says:

    Thank you for such a great job with comprehensive up-to-date info on all Korean skiing options!

    Do you know if Yongpyong Silver and Rainbow areas are closed through the whole 17/18 season, or for a limited time? Is there a chance to ride them in the first week of January?

    • snorton says:

      Hi Andrey, thanks for reading & thank you for the kind comment; it’s good to hear the site is helping people!

      To answer your question, yes, I’m afraid the Rainbow & Silver areas are closed for the entirety of the season. If you visit Yongpyong in January you’ll be limited to the rest of the mountain – the Gold area is the best of the rest (or the park, if you like freestyle)

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

  5. Steph says:

    Hi, I am planning on staying in Seoul and looking to buy the 7 day pass but will still need two days after that to get to Gangneung. Do you know where I can buy individual KTX tickets? I am traveling from USA. Thank you!

    • snorton says:

      Hi Steph,

      You can book regular train tickets on the Korail website (letskorail.com); reservations can be made from 30 days in advance. It’s also really easy to buy them in person at machines & ticket windows at Korail stations, but for travel to Gangneung during the Olympic period it’s a good idea to book online well in advance.

      Hope this helps!

      • Steph says:

        Hi thank you that is helpful! Now me and my sister are looking at just getting one 7 day and one five day korail pass since that will cover all the days we are in Korea but when I went to purchase them and clicked saver it had me enter all of my info(my name, birth date, passport number, and the days I would be using my pass) and then it just had a place to enter my “companions” name and passport number. I got confused because I wasn’t sure if i was purchasing two passes at once? or if then my sister would have to go and purchase her own saver pass? I looked at the q&a on korail site but it wasn’t too helpfull honestly…Any info you have on this would be so helpful thank you!

        • Simon Norton says:

          Hi again Steph,

          Sorry, but to be honest I’m not sure. I haven’t tried using the Korail site to buy a pass (I’m heading back to Korea in a couple weeks and am just going to buy my tickets in person once I’m there), I guess you’d need to contact Korail… but I know from experience that that’s easier said than done!

          Maybe you should just buy your passes and your sister’s passes as separate purchases, just to be on the safe side?

  6. Gayle says:

    Hi! Good day! My friends and I will be in SK on Nov 22-26, 2017 and we plan to ski on the 25th. What resorts are open at that date? We are really having a difficulty finding one. We hope to experience skiing during our stay.

    Your response will be of great help. Thank you!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Gayle, you’re a little early for most resorts, however the two biggest resorts (High1 and Yongpyong) are usually open on the last weekend in November.

      Please be aware though – this isn’t confirmed yet, and I can’t 100% guarantee that you’ll be able to ski on the 25th. Until the resorts officially announce their season dates, it’s impossible to say. I suggest you make plans to visit Yongpyong or High1, here’s the resort info:

      http://www.snowguidekorea.com/ski-resorts/gangwondo/yongpyong-alpensia/

      http://www.snowguidekorea.com/ski-resorts/gangwondo/high1-resort/

      …but you’ll need to keep checking back for the opening dates to make sure you can actually go! As soon as I know them, I’ll post another reply to your comment here. In the meantime, let me know if you have any more questions.

      Btw are you planning to stay at the resort, or do a day trip from Seoul?

  7. Sweet says:

    Hi Simon, you’ve said that the Yongpyong resort is open for the entire winter season, however the gondola will be closed? Can you please confirm this? Thanks.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Sweet, yes that’s correct. Yongpyong opened this weekend and will probably close some time in April, but the Rainbow and Silver areas will be closed off all season due to the Olympics, including the gondola.

      • Kris says:

        Hi Simon,

        I was planning to go to Yongpyong at the very end of March 18, do you think most runs will still be open? And will the gondola/rainow and silver runs still be shut?
        Cheers,
        Kris

        • Simon Norton says:

          Hi Kris, yes the Rainbow & Silver areas are closed for the entire season. But everything else should still be open in late March; will be getting a bit slushy by then probably, but still rideable. Cheers!

  8. Ann Chan says:

    My family will be staying in Yong Pyong in the first week of January. And we will be going direct from Incheon Airport to Yong Pyong. Just wonder if KTX can bring us from Incheon Airport to Pyeongchang by then?

  9. Em says:

    Just wanted to thank you for doing all the research and getting all of the resort Information!

  10. Frankie Yuen says:

    Hi Simon,
    This site is really useful. Thanks a lot.
    Between, I’ve a question.
    I’ve booked Holiday Inn Alpensia resort from 18th – 26th planning to ski.
    All are confirmed but just found out that only part of Pyeongchang will be open. So I think I’ll need to go around Pyeongchang and Phoenix on different days.
    I’ve 2 questions.
    1) how far is it to travel from Holiday Inn Alpensia to Phoenix and is it convenient to travel there back and forth?
    2) Is it recommended that I rent a car and drive around Pyeongchang and Phoenix to save some waiting time?

    Thanks

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Frankie,

      Firstly, thanks for the kind comment, it’s always great to hear the site’s useful!

      To answer your questions, first of all I think when you said Pyeongchang you meant Yongpyong Resort? (Pyeongchang is the name of the whole region)

      So:

      Prior to December 22nd, Alpensia to Phoenix Park is not convenient by public transportation, but by car it’s quite close (30km or so… Phoenix Park is actually visible from the top of Yongpyong in clear weather).

      However, from December 22nd the new KTX bullet train opens, which you could use instead of driving. Alpensia is near Jinbu Station and Phoenix Park is near Pyeongchang Station, and those two stations are only about 10 minutes apart. Each resort will have a shuttle bus to/from the KTX station.

      Also be aware that although Alpensia & Yongpyong are very close, it costs quite a lot (15000 won one-way) to travel between them by taxi (due to the callout charge from town), and it’s a several km walk so not so practical before/after skiing. Hopefully their shuttle buses will run between the 2 resorts as well as to Jinbu Station, but they haven’t announced the bus schedules yet so we don’t know. A hire car would be a good solution, depending on budget.

      For details on the new KTX train see my page here.

      Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any more questions

  11. Frankie Yuen says:

    Hi Simon
    Many thanks for the comments.
    3 more questions if you don’t mind.

    1) It’s OK that I rent a car directly from the airport and drive to Alpensia directly?
    Will there be parking at Holiday Inn Alpensia?

    2) I will be holding an international licence. No problem on that in renting a car at Seoul airport right?

    3) Also, finding parking at Yongpyong Resort and Phoenix to ski is also not a problem?

    Many Thanks

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi again Frankie, sorry for the slow response this time, I was travelling back to Korea. In Seoul now and excited to hit the slopes!

      I don’t know much about renting cars in Korea, but this page here answers your questions. As for parking, yes there are huge parking lots at Alpensia, Yongpyong and Phoenix Park.

  12. Frankie Yuen says:

    Sorry Simon
    Like to add one question.
    Or can I rent a car at Holiday Inn Alpensia resort or somewhere around there?

    Thanks

    • Simon Norton says:

      According to the page I linked to in my reply above, you can rent cars at KTX stations… so maybe you could rent one from Jinbu Station? The station opens on December 22nd though, so that might not help you… to be honest I’m afraid I don’t know for sure if you can rent a car at Holiday Inn, but maybe the hotel can help you arrange it. You’d need to ask them directly though, because I don’t really know!

  13. Wan says:

    Hi Simon, when will the Yong Pyong snow sled park be opened? Any age limit for Yong Phong snow sled park? Thanks

    • Simon Norton says:

      Dear Wan, sorry I haven’t been to Yongpyong yet this season so I’m not sure… it’d be best to call Yongpyong directly, the sledding inquiry number is here

  14. Jay says:

    Hi, thanks for info.

    Is skiiing at Phoenix Park partially or 100% closed to public from 31 Jan to 6 Feb?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Jay, it’s 100% closed at that time. If you want to ski near there on those dates, the closest place is Welli Hilli Park, about 20km away (near Dunnae Station which is 1 KTX stop from Pyeongchang Station)

  15. Angelica says:

    Hi! Thanks for the updates!

    I would just like to clarify the closing date for Phoenix. You said they will be open until the 10th of January. So that means there will be operations (skiing and other snow activities) on the 10th or did you mean that the first day they stop operating is on the 10th?

    Also would like to ask for some advice. Would a daytrip from Seoul to Phoenix possible? Would really like to visit and do some skiing where the Winter Olympics will be held. Thought it’d be cool.

    Thank you so much!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Angelica, they told me they’re open until the 10th, which I think means they’re still open on the 10th and then closed from the 11th. I’ll message them for confirmation, and get back to you,

      As for daytrips from Seoul, yes absolutely it’s possible, and lots of people do it every day. the new KTX starts service on December 22nd, you can ride the KTX to Pyeongchang Station (90 minutes) then ride the free shuttle bus to the resort.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi again Angelica,

      I heard from Phoenix Park that they’ve extended their closing date to January 20th, so you’ll definitely be able to ski on the 10th!

  16. sha says:

    i want to go on gondola soooo badly.. any chance it will be opened (particular time i.e. morning or late evening) during in mid jan 2018… please help

  17. sha says:

    since gondola will be closed.. please suggest any other alternative to have similar view like dragon peak..

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Sha, the gondola at Yongpyong is closed all season, however you can still ride the gondola at Welli Hilli Park, High1, or Vivaldi Park. Phoenix Park is open until January 20th, so if you go before that you can also ride the gondola at Phoenix Park. For nice views at the top, I think Phoenix Park and High1 are best. Phoenix Park is also very convenient by KTX, so my recommendation is to go there (by Jan 20th)

  18. Toby says:

    Hi simon,
    Thx for the v useful information. I booked 30jan to 1feb at yongpyong dragon valley hotel for skiing. Is it right next to the ski place as said? And the closed areas shuldnt hv much effect on us as beginner level skiier right?
    And we plan to go to yongpong from dongdaman in very early to catch the morning ski session, is it possible?
    Million thx.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Toby,

      Yes, Dragon Valley Hotel’s a short walk from the ski area, and closed areas won’t make any difference to you as beginners as they’re all intermediate & advanced.

      To get there from Dongdaemun, either take a direct shuttle bus (see here, there’s a bus at 5:30 which should arrive around 9am), or ride Line 1 four stops to Cheongnyangni Station then take the KTX to Jinbu Station and finally a taxi or shuttle bus from there. First KTX to Jinbu leaves Cheongnyangni at 6:22, arrives Jinbu at 7:46

      Have a great trip!

      • TOby says:

        Thanks Simon for the info!
        For renting suits, i wonder if they rent top jacket and pants and helmet all separately? Or all in one price? As i only hv ski pants myself and my bf only has pants and jacket but no helmet. So if all at one price, then maybe we dont even bother to bring . Many thanks again. Hv a nice day!

        • Simon Norton says:

          Hi again, I’m sorry I don’t actually know a definite answer to this question, so it’s probably best to bring what you already have, then just rent the extra things you need.

  19. Candice says:

    Thanks for the article, Simon!
    I’m planning to go to Seoul and maybe watch 1-2 olympic events while at it. I feel like I won’t need the Pyeongchang rail pass since I only plan to visit the venue for 1 day. I’m planning on getting the ordinary Korail pass so I can get around Seoul during the week. Will I be able to go to Pyeongchang with the ordinary Korail pass? Like maybe a connecting ride of some sort? Thanks!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Candice – no, absolutely don’t get an ordinary Korail Pass! They’re not valid on the Pyeongchang line during the Olympics, in order to get to the venues you have to either buy individual tickets or the Pyeongchang Pass.

      Also, the Korail Pass isn’t worth it just for getting around Seoul – it’s much (much!) cheaper just to use the subway for that. If you’re also wanting to make trips to somewhere far away like Busan, then you could use the Pyeongchang Pass for that too so it might be worth getting in that case.

      But if you’re just planning on staying in Seoul and making a day-trip over to Pyeongchang, don’t get a pass. Just buy single tickets for Pyeongchang, and use the subway for Seoul.

      Hope you have a great trip!

  20. Celia James says:

    Hello and thank you for the information,

    We are eight staying in Seoul and have tickets to the mens Halfpipe I notice on the timetable there are no trains from Seoul to Pheong Chang until approx 8am, will this get us to the event on time, or am I reading the timetable incorrectly.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Celia,

      I think you must be looking at the wrong schedule, as the first train leaves Seoul Station at 6am. You can search the trains here, but if you’re talking about the halfpipe final on the 14th the seats are already totally booked out that day – you’ll have to try and get standing tickets (these are only available in Korea, so do that first thing when you land)

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