Welli Hilli Park is located near Wonju, the largest city in Gangwon-do province; the other Wonju hill is Oak Valley to the northwest of the city, but Welli Hilli’s location in the higher mountains to the east 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, but Phoenix is a bit further out so I usually get a season pass for Welli Hilli.
Welli Hilli Park: the hill
Welli Hilli Park has 8 chairlifts and a 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 also serve as the park chairs. There’s a beginner park located near the top of this A piste at skier’s left:
…and a more advanced park running down on skier’s right:
The halfpipe is also usually in good nick*, and though it doesn’t have its own chair so you can hit it on laps of the ‘Delta’ chair without too much extra skiing required (it has scheduled closure days on Mondays & Thursdays for maintenance).
*actually, this isn’t always the case – it’s very weather dependent. Due to the relatively mild winter it was hardly ever open in the 2018/19 season, in fact I didn’t get to hit it once despite going 2 or 3 days a week. I guess when they’re struggling for snow, halfpipe maintenance is the lowest priority. Same story at Phoenix Park – the pipe wasn’t open yet when I went in January, and they didn’t know when (or if) it would be. Vivaldi Park gave up on theirs and took it out completely.
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 and has some reasonably steep stuff at the top; 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)
Season passes – if you’re intermediate or above it’s probably the closest mountain worth getting a season pass for if you live in Seoul (most definitely so if you want freestyle), and your season pass covers your transportation too, granting you free use of their shuttle system.
Welli Hilli is not so good for:
The downhill skiing, which is fairly limited (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 Gangneung KTX started service in late 2017, and is the fastest way to reach Welli Hilli Park; the journey time is around 80 minutes from Seoul Station to Dunnae Station, for 16,800 won. Welli Hilli Park has a free shuttle bus from Dunnae Station, schedule here (it’s in Korean, but the 3 columns you need are 리조트출발=depart resort, 둔내역=Dunnae Station, 리조트도착=arrive resort). The shuttle bus pulls in at the bus stop right in front of the station:
They also operate (paid) shuttle buses direct from Seoul, though it’s 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 they’re very easy to use, 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, taking 2.5 hours or so, and costing 8,500 won). If you buy a season pass you get free use of the shuttle buses, which is great value – again, you have to use their app to reserve them and it’s all in Korean, but if you take your phone to the shuttle bus counter they can set the app up for you and show you how to make reservations (take notes!)
Alternatively another 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 regular ‘mugunghwa’ 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; you can click on the ‘MAP’ buttons to check the exact location of the stops, and here’s a Google Maps screenshot for the Wonju train station pickup spot:
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. The total journey time for this route ends up being around 3 hours if you start from central Seoul, as Cheongnyangni Station is a little inconvenient and Welli Hilli is a fair distance out from Wonju.
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)
Any questions about Welli Hilli Park? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.