Welli Hilli Park is one of the local hills for Wonju, the largest city in Gangwon-do province; the other hill near Wonju is Oak Valley (to the northwest of the city), but Welli Hilli’s location in the higher mountains to the east of Wonju makes it a more serious option. Welli Hilli is the closest hill to Seoul which advanced riders will find properly satisfying, at least on the proviso that they like riding park & pipe.
The two best hills in Korea for freestyle are Welli Hilli and Phoenix Park; with Phoenix Park hosting the Pyeongchang 2018 freestyle events, if you’re hitting Korea during the Olympics and want serious freestyle options then you should head to Welli Hilli Park (this author will likely be getting a Welli Hilli season pass for the 2017/18 season)
Welli Hilli Park: the hill
Welli Hilli Park has 8 chairlifts and a somewhat gratuitous gondola going up from the one base, mostly to the top station or partway, though the ‘Alpha’ chairs go up the short A runs to the side and thus serve as the park chairs. There’s a beginner park located near the top of this A piste at skier’s left and there’s an impressive main park running down on skier’s right; the parks are well maintained by a dedicated park crew.
The halfpipe is also usually in good nick, though unfortunately it doesn’t have its own chair so you have to hit it on laps of the ‘Delta’ chair (which takes you halfway up the hill)
As for the downhill skiing available, it’s pretty mediocre and not a patch on High1 or Yongpyong, though it’s certainly better than all the hills further west towards Seoul; it’s also a bit higher, making it the closest hill to Seoul that actually receives a decent amount of natural snowfall.
The vertical drop’s a modest 300m, but from the top there are 9 or 10 routes down, so at least it has a fair bit to check out for a half-day if you’re not into park & pipe.
Welli Hilli is good for:
Those based in Wonju.
Being the closest mountain to Seoul which is high enough to get a decent amount of natural snow.
Freestyle; Welli Hilli Park is the best freestyle hill in Korea along with Phoenix Park.
Has one of the few halfpipes in Korea.
Flexible ticket options (see below)
You can enjoy some proper mountain views! (not always standard at Korean resorts)
Welli Hilli is not so good for:
The downhill skiing, which is mediocre (though still better than all the resorts further west)
Welli Hilli Park lift tickets
Welli Hilli Park’s hours follow the standard model in Korea, with the operating hours split into day & night by a 2-hour snow grooming break (the daytime hours are further subdivided into AM and PM), and you can get lift tickets for any of those slots individually, or for combinations of the above. They also have the more flexible option of a 3-hour ticket which just gives you 3 hours from whatever time you buy it, making their ticketing system more flexible than most.
Prices range from 41,000 won for a 3-hour ticket to 87,000 for a PM & Night combo. See here for full details
Welli Hilli: accommodation
Welli Hilli has the usual massive condo development at the base of the hill; 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 Welli Hilli Park
The easiest way to get there from Seoul is by direct resort shuttle bus, though this is hard to actually arrange for non-Korean speakers as it’s done using an app, which is only available in Korean. However, for getting back from the resort it’s very easy to take the shuttle, as they have a shuttle bus counter in the main reception area where you can buy a ticket for your return journey (the shuttles do drop-offs at points all over the city, departing at 17:40 (2016/17 schedule), taking 2.5 hours or so, and costing around 7,000 won).
The alternative way to get to Welli Hilli Park from Seoul is by first taking public transport to Wonju, then the free resort shuttle from there (no advance reservation required).
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.
See Welli Hilli’s transportation page for details of the shuttle bus from Wonju; the schedule is here. You can click on the ‘MAP’ buttons to check the exact location of the stops; also, here’s a Google Maps screenshot for the Wonju train station pickup spot (as I don’t find theirs 100% clear):
Come out of the station and turn right on Wonil-ro, and wait in front of the key shop opposite the large indoor market building.
When the new Gangneung KTX line opens in late 2017, it’ll be the fastest (and most expensive) way to reach Welli Hilli Park; the journey time will be around 40 minutes from Seoul’s Cheongnyangni Station to the new Dunnae Station, for around 17,000 won (estimated). Welli Hilli Park will operate a shuttle bus from Dunnae Station, although the schedule isn’t yet confirmed (this page will be updated as & when these details become clear)
Any questions about Welli Hilli Park? Leave a comment below!