High1 is located in the heart of the Taebaek Mountains, Korea’s main range, and offers the most serious piece of ski terrain in the country. This isn’t a ski / golf / water park all-in-one leisure resort; this is a proper ski hill with proper runs (although the High1 Hotel does actually have an attached golf course… and there’s a casino! And lots of good hiking… so it is popular year-round)
High1 has one of the best natural snowfall records in Korea, so isn’t quite as reliant as most Korean hills on snowmaking – this isn’t saying all that much, but at least you’ll be getting some of the real stuff under your board.
Also, take note: High1 offers a 40% discount to foreigners! Just remember to take your passport with you, and use it to get a resort card from the Customer Service Centre. You can then present the resort card at the ticket counter to get the discount when you buy your lift ticket.
High1: the hill
Homepage and piste map (click to enlarge):
There are three base areas, although one of them is just the High1 Hotel, located on the side of the mountain some distance from the town of Gohan with its own gondola – High1 Gondola – direct to the top, but no ski in/ski out piste access. The main base areas are Mountain House, high above the town of Sabuk, and Valley House lower down in Gohan; the Valley Gondola connects these two bases, and you can ski down from Mountain House to Valley House via the Athena 3 run. From Mountain House, the Mountain Gondola (which is the main gondola) runs up to the top.
In addition to the three gondolas, High1 has a total of 7 chairlifts running up the two facing sides of a valley, with all the runs funnelling down from the two top stations (Valley Top & Mountain Top) to Valley House at the bottom.
The vertical drop at High1 is similar to that at Yongpyong, and a bit less than at Muju Deogyusan, but a crucial difference is that while Yongpyong has only one full run all the way down and Muju Deogyusan a couple, at High1 you have a much greater variety of top-to-bottom options.
They also do a good job with their freestyle efforts; the park isn’t quite as impressive as the more specialist setups at Phoenix Park and Welli Hilli, but High1 is otherwise the best freestyle hill you’ll find in Korea.
High1 is good for:
Freestyle – best in Korea after Welli Hilli Park and Phoenix Park.
Terrain – the best variety of top-to-bottom runs at any single resort in Korea.
All levels of riding.
40% discount for all foreigners! (remember to take your passport)
High1 is not so good for:
Day trips from Seoul! It’s doable, but it’s probably just a bit too far to be worth it for most; better to stay for a couple of days if possible.
High1 lift tickets
High1 is open from 8:30 to 22:00. Their lift tickets follow the typical system in Korea, with the operating hours split into day & night by a 2-hour snow grooming break at 4pm; the daytime hours are subdivided into AM and PM. You can get a ticket for AM, PM, or Night, or a combination of the above, as per here (Korean page, but obvious enough). Prices range from 62,000 for a single slot to 92,000 for PM & Night combined.
They have a very handy ticket option of Night (18:00 – 22:00) and morning (8:30 – 12:00) the following day, for 90,000 won. This is very useful if you want to hit High1 from Seoul and only have 2 days, as you can travel on the first day and ski in the evening, then ski again in the morning before travelling back.
And remember, there’s a 40% discount for foreigners! Your passport is required to get the discount, so don’t forget it.
There are multiple accommodation options at the resort itself, with more in the towns of Sabuk and Gohan below.
The resort accommodation consists of three condos (Hill Condo, Mountain Condo, Valley Condo) and three hotels (High1 Hotel, High1 Convention Hotel, Kangwonland Hotel); click on each property name to view details or make a reservation. You can also check here and compare the price. Valley Condo is at the base station of the Valley Gondola and Mountain Condo is at the upper station – Hill Condo is in the middle, and the gondola actually stops at a middle station just next to Hill Condo. If you need to rent ski equipment & wear it may be best to book a package, see here.
Alternatively, you can stay in Gohan or Sabuk. Gohan has a few hotels listed here, while Sabuk is good for budget options with an Ekonomy Hotel and a number of love motels. Some of them can actually be reserved online here, but the others are walk-in joints – which you probably can’t bank on having availability if it’s a holiday, but should be fine otherwise (staying at a love motel may sound off-putting to some, but they’re actually decent places and not as seedy as the name might suggest, and could make for an interesting Korean experience!)
If you’re going to base yourself in Seoul and hit High1 from there, it’s a long day but it can be done (see below for access details); see Agoda for hotel deals in Seoul
Airbnb is also a good option in Korea, and they have a few listings near High1 in the Sabuk/Gohan area. 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 High1
To get there independently, High1 can be reached by mugunghwa (slow) train from Seoul’s Cheongyangni Station, with trains costing around 14,000 won and taking around 3.5 hours to Sabuk or Gohan. These two stations are a few minutes apart in neighbouring towns, and are connected to High1 by free resort shuttle buses; check the train & shuttle schedules here, see which shuttle bus (i.e. from Gohan or Sabuk) best matches your preferred train time, and choose your destination station accordingly. There’s some good scenery along the way, so try to get a window seat!
The highway bus is actually faster than the train in this case, though it doesn’t link up with the shuttle buses so you have to take a taxi from the Gohan bus terminal to High1 (the location of the bus terminal in an odd little turnoff from the highway is not conducive to walking into Gohan itself). The bus goes from Dong Seoul (East Seoul) Terminal located next to Gangbyeon Station (Line 2), takes around 3 hours, costs around 18,000 won, and runs roughly every 30 to 60 minutes (bus schedule here, page 2 in blue)
The resort operates free shuttles for both of the local train stations, but not the bus station. If accessing High1 from Sabuk Station, the shuttle bus takes you to Mountain House. If accessing from Gohan, the shuttle bus goes to both bases but Valley House is first; if taking a taxi from Gohan bus terminal, Valley House is significantly closer. If you’re going to the High1 Hotel, you need to take the shuttle from Gohan. The shuttle bus system is clearly explained here.
Another option is a direct bus transfer from Seoul to the resort with these guys. It’s a bit more expensive, but way less hassle as it’s 3.5 hours from Seoul direct to High1 with no transfers; they can also arrange direct private airport transfers.
The new Gangneung KTX bullet train line opened in late 2017, running from Seoul Station to Gangneung in two hours; however, from Gangneung to High1 you still then have to take a slow mugunghwa train (2 hours) or highway bus to Sabuk/Gohan, so it doesn’t save any time vs the direct buses (and works out more expensive)
Any questions about High1 Resort? Leave a comment below!