Muju Deogyusan Resort is located in Deogyusan National Park, about 90 minutes’ drive south of Daejeon City, or 2.5 hours south of Seoul. It’s one of the few Korean ski resorts where you really feel like you’re out there in the mountains, and it has the best views of the lot; it also has the closest thing you’ll find to an alpine village at the base, complete with a huge Austrian-style hotel, the Hotel Tyrol:
Ersatz though it may be, it’s certainly nicer than the high rise condo developments at all the other resorts.
Muju Deogyusan Resort: the hill
Muju Deogyusan also offers the greatest vertical drop found in Korea (bar the newly-constructed-for-the-Olympics Jeongseon Alpine Centre), so if you’re looking for a selection of reasonably long runs you’ll find them here; at just over 6km, Silk Road is the longest run in Korea. The terrain isn’t wildly exciting though, and the more southerly location doesn’t help the snow quality (though at least they get enough natural snow, rather than relying the man-made stuff on the hills around Seoul).
It’s also a slightly odd setup, with two base areas and two corresponding top stations – the Seolcheon base with the gondola up to Peak 2, and the Mansan base with its main chair up to Peak 1. The two sides are mostly detached, with one connecting run from Mansan to Seolcheon, and one chairlift for going the other way. The Mansan side has more lifts and runs, while the Seolcheon (gondola) side has fewer but the runs are longer.
Basically, learners and low intermediates will be happy on the Mansan side, while more advanced riders will want to session the gondola. It’s a pretty slow, long gondola ride, and though the runs are fairly long you’ll have them all skied out in a couple of hours.
There’s no freestyle at all at Muju Deogyusan, and by public transport & shuttle bus altogether it takes about 3.5 hours from Seoul so either go for the views and the longer pistes, or head to High1 if you’re looking for the best riding and willing to travel that far!
Muju Deogyusan Resort is good for:
Vertical. Korea’s greatest vertical drop, and some nice long runs as a result.
Beautiful mountain views of Deogyusan National Park.
The alpine village at the base makes it a good choice if you’re planning on staying for a couple of nights.
Beginners and intermediates.
Muju Deogyusan Resort is not so good for:
Freestyle (there isn’t any)
Day trips from Seoul. Although it’s possible, the long journey time means you’ll spend more time travelling than skiing.
Muju Deogyusan Resort: lift tickets
Muju Deogyusan lift tickets follow the standard system in Korea, with the operating hours split into day & night by a 2-hour snow grooming break at 4:30pm; the daytime hours (8:30am – 4:30pm) are subdivided into morning and afternoon, the nighttime hours (4:30pm – midnight) are subdivided into evening and night. You can get a lift ticket for any one of the time slots, or for various combinations; weekends and holidays also have an early morning ticket from 6:30am.
Prices range from 37,000 won for a 2-hour lift-only (no gondola) 6:30am ticket (when available) to 101,000 for a 10-hour gondola ticket. Full details here
Muju Deogyusan Resort: accommodation
There are various on-resort options ranging from a hostel to the 5-star Hotel Tyrol, either with direct slope access or a short walk from the lifts. These can be booked on the Muju Deogyusan site’s accommodation page here
A more budget-friendly alternative is to stay nearby in the village of Gucheondong (officially part of Seolcheon-myeon town); as it lies within the national park near various hiking trails, Gucheondong has a number of hostel/pension-style options. Frequent shuttle buses (see below) run between Gucheondong and the ski resort, so access to the slopes is easy – see here for accommodation options in Gucheondong/Seolcheon
Airbnb works really well in Korea too, and they have plenty of listings in the Muju 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 Muju Deogyusan Resort
The free resort shuttle runs from the small town of Muju, on the edge of Deogyusan National Park. You can get to Muju directly from Seoul’s Nambu Bus Terminal (at time of writing, departures at 07:40, 09:20, 10:40, 13:40, 14:35), taking 2.5 hours and costing 13,400 won (details here); otherwise, you have to change at Daejeon, making for a long journey with two changes of bus. When returning in the evening, if your destination is Seoul bear in mind that if you take the 18:30 shuttle bus down you’ve already missed the last direct bus from Muju to Seoul and will have to change at Daejeon; the 15:30 shuttle is therefore better.
Here’s the shuttle schedule (2016/17). In the box on the left, the 무주 column shows times from Muju and the 리조트 column shows return times from the resort. If you’re staying in Gucheondong (구천동), the times are in the box on the right (note that if you’re there early or late in the season, the later bus times won’t be operating; check this with staff on site):
When you arrive at Muju, exit the back of the bus station:
…and the shuttle bus stops next to the river here:
Any questions about Muju Deogyusan Resort? Leave a comment below!
For full reviews of every ski resort in Korea, see here