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 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 prices here, also here’s a photo of their 2016/17 rates:
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
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
From Seoul to Wonju take either the highway bus from Express Bus Terminal (90 minutes, 8,000 won) or the train from Cheongyangni Station (1 hour, 6,300 won), whichever is more convenient from your starting point.
The resort runs a free shuttle bus from Wonju, schedule here. If you check that page in summer you’ll see the summer shuttle schedule which is different, so here’s a screenshot of the 2016/17 winter 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 from Seoul by train, the shuttle boarding point is 원주시보건소 (Wonju Public Health Centre); this is about 500m south of Wonju Station on Wonil-ro, on the southbound side i.e. on the right side. The health centre is the large glass building on the corner with Cheonsa-ro on the right, and the bus stop to wait at is just before it and looks like this:
Look for this bus stop name printed on the stop:
When the new KTX line opens in late 2017, it’ll be the fastest (and most expensive) way to reach Wonju; the journey time will be around 30 minutes from Seoul Station to Manjong Station, for around 15,000 won (estimated). Presumably the Oak Valley shuttle bus route will be altered to include Manjong Station (Oak Valley’s quite close to this new station), although that isn’t yet confirmed (this page will be updated as & when these details become clear)
The base facilities at Oak Valley are excellent, as is standard in Korea:
Any questions about Oak Valley? Leave a comment below!