Oak Valley is one of the local hills for Wonju, the largest city in the province of Gangwon-do (the other hill near Wonju being Welli Hilli Park).
As is so common in Korea, the ski area neighbours a golf course with a large hotel / condo arrangement at the base, but this is the only one where the golf course is literally directly next to the pistes. When you come off the top of the ‘Flower’ chair you’re actually strapping in on the golf course – if you’ve ever wanted to walk around on a golf course in your ski wear, you can fulfil that dream at Oak Valley…
Oak Valley: the hill
Oak Valley has 3 chairlifts going up from the one base; one of them (‘Mountain’) goes right to the top, another (‘Bird’) goes halfway, and the third (‘Flower’) is for beginners. From the top there’s a handful of runs to choose from, all of which feed down to a wide, gentle piste coming across to skier’s left back to the base area. This wide piste at the bottom has its own chair (Flower) and it’s a good bit of terrain for learning on; the runs from the top are good for intermediates, but advanced riders will exhaust all the options in short order. There is a reasonable stab at a terrain park, but it requires full laps of the main Mountain chair each time you hit it.
Oak Valley is good for:
Those coming from Wonju.
Good hill for learning and progressing to intermediate runs.
Freestyle. The park’s nothing special, but at least it’s there.
Being on a golf course in ski gear.
Oak valley is not so good for:
Terrain – there’s nothing at all for advanced skiers.
Oak Valley: ticketing
Oak Valley’s slopes are open from 8:30am to 4am and it follows the standard ticketing model in Korea, with the operating hours split into day & night by a 90-minute snow grooming break at 5pm; the daytime hours are subdivided into Morning and Afternoon, the nighttime hours are divided into Night and Late Night. You can get tickets for any one of those individual slots (of 4.5 to 5.5 hours each), plus various combinations of the above. You can check the latest prices here, also here’s a photo of their 2019 rates:
If you also need to rent ski equipment & wear it works out cheaper to book a package including everything plus transportation, see here
Oak Valley: accommodation
Oak Valley has a collection of massive condo buildings at the base of the hill, and you can search & book their rooms here. If you need rental equipment & wear it may be cheaper overall to book a 2D1N package (including transportation, hotel, rentals, etc)
Airbnb is also a great choice for Seoul or Wonju – hosts usually have it set up so you can arrive & check in by yourself without having to wait around or meet anyone, and the housing standards are decent with underfloor heating and excellent internet connections as standard. 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 Oak Valley
2018/19 update: great news! They’ve announced a direct free shuttle bus from Seoul from Dec 15th to Feb 2nd, see here. This makes Oak Valley a really convenient option for a day-trip, I tried it the other day and it only took 75 minutes to get there (but half an hour longer coming back due to evening traffic). The bus waits directly outside exit 2 of Sports Complex Station for 10:20 departure:
Returning to Seoul in the evening, the buses wait in the parking area and leave at 17:30 to various points across the city (tell the drivers where you need to go and they’ll point you to the best bus):
The resort runs a free local shuttle bus from Wonju, schedule here. It’s all in Korean, so to help you decipher it here’s a screenshot (of the 2017 schedule, click to enlarge):
The boarding points are listed on the left; arriving from Seoul by highway bus, you’ll board the shuttle in Wonju at the 시외버스터미널 stop (the Intercity Bus Terminal), on the westbound side of the street i.e. on the main road in front of the bus terminal, on the same side. Arriving at Wonju Station by train, the shuttle boarding point is 역전시장, which is a short distance south on Wonil-ro, on the southbound side i.e. on the right side. These two boarding points are clearly shown on the maps on the lower portion of this page.
Somewhat surprisingly Oak Valley hasn’t been doing shuttles from the nearby KTX station (Manjong) since the Gangneung KTX opened, so if you want to go by KTX you’ll need to take a taxi from the station – in theory this should take about 20 minutes and cost something in the region of 20 dollars, though it may be hard to get a taxi in the first place.
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)
The base facilities at Oak Valley are excellent, as is standard in Korea:
Any questions about Oak Valley? Leave a comment below!