Alpensia is located in the province of Gangwon-do, next to the much larger Yongpyong Resort in Pyeongchang County (all it would take to connect the two ski areas would be a single short chairlift & piste). Alpensia was originally conceived of specifically to enable a Korean Winter Olympics bid by the Gangwon provincial government, including various key pieces of Games infrastructure like the ski jump tower and bobsleigh track. This plan finally came to fruition with Alpensia serving as the focal point of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, with the resort hosting the ski jumping, bobsleigh, and Nordic events, while neighbouring Yongpyong hosted the slalom & giant slalom (the other downhill events were held at the purpose-built Jeongseon Alpine Centre, with the freestyle events at Phoenix Park)
Alpensia’s a tiny ski hill with just 3 chairlifts and 6 runs down 160m of vert. To be honest, if you’re looking for Gangwon-do’s best skiing, it isn’t at Alpensia… it is a good choice for beginners though, as the gentle terrain and small size make it suitable for learning. It’s also a much newer resort than Yongpyong, with modern accommodation and better base facilities. So, if you’re looking for a family holiday in the snow and want to try some skiing lessons while youre there, Alpensia is a good choice. Serious skiers should head to Yongpyong, High1, or Phoenix Park instead.
Seems to me that Alpensia would almost certainly fail as a business if it were only about the ski slopes on offer – there’s no way it can match its larger neighbour. It’s more of an upmarket year-round leisure resort which offers skiing in winter and golf in summer.
Now that it’s served its intended purpose as the centrepiece of the Pyeongchang Olympics, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Alpensia going forwards – it was already rumoured to be in financial difficulty prior to the successful Olympics bid, and with the provincial and national governments at loggerheads over who should pay for the maintenance (or demolition) of the probably-seldom-used Olympic facilities one suspects Alpensia may frequently have the term ‘white elephant’ applied to it over the next few years.
Alpensia Lift Tickets
Alpensia lift tickets follow the usual basic pattern, with time slots of morning, afternoon, and night, as shown here (it closes earlier than most Korean resorts, at 10pm). Alpensia lift tickets are slightly cheaper than Yongpyong lift tickets, so if you’re just looking for somewhere to take lessons Alpensia is therefore the better choice. For those who can already ride, Yongpyong is far better value.
There are also a number of independent pension-style options in the surrounding area which you can search & book here
If you’re planning to stay in Seoul and hit Alpensia from there, search Agoda for hotel deals in Seoul
Airbnb is also a good option in Korea – they have listings near Yongpyong/Alpensia (search for Daegwalnyeong-myeon, the local town) in addition to those in Seoul. If you haven’t used Airbnb before, you can get a 35-dollar discount off your first rental by signing up through Snow Guide Korea; simply click on this link and register!
How to get to Alpensia
The most convenient way is to use the direct shuttle buses from Seoul; these are privately operated and require advance reservation, take 2.5 hours, and cost around 20,000 won. See here for schedules & booking.
Alternatively, you can take public buses from Seoul’s Nambu Terminal or Dong Seoul Terminal to Hoenggye Bus Terminal (in Daegwallyeong), and a local bus or taxi from there (3 hours plus, all in).
The private shuttles are way more convenient, and well-worth the extra 5 dollars or so.
The Gangneung KTX bullet train started service in late 2017 and calls at Jinbu Station, about 90 minutes journey time from Seoul Station for 22,000 won. It’s about 20,000 won by taxi between the station and Alpensia, but hopefully they’ll run a free shuttle bus during the ski season (not clear yet). Train tickets: you can easily buy tickets on the day from the ticket counters & machines at railway stations, but trains do sell out (especially during peak hours & on holidays) so if you want to be sure of a seat on a specific train it’s better to book in advance. Again you can do this in person by visiting a station, or you can try booking online on the official Korail site; depending on your browser or your credit/bank card it may not work for you, in which case try Trip.com for a more international-friendly and generally more user-friendly experience (usually for a small markup e.g. markup on a Seoul-Pyeongchang ticket is just a dollar or so, but prices are sometimes actually lower on Trip).
To get between Yongpyong and Alpensia there was an hourly shuttle bus in 2017/18, but it’s also still unclear whether this will run in future seasons. It isn’t far between the two resorts by taxi, but unless you get lucky you’ll have to call one and can expect to pay at least 15,000 won as they have to drive up from town (and charge for it).
Any questions about Alpensia? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.