Top 5 Korean Ski Resorts During the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics

If you’re visiting Korea during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic season and want to do some skiing yourself, be aware that the four resorts involved in hosting the games will be partially or entirely closed to the general public i.e. much of the country’s best skiing will be off-limits. With that in mind, here’s a list of the top 5 Korean ski resorts to hit during the 2017/18 season:

1. High1

High1, view from the gondola

High1 is already one of the two standout resorts in Korea, but with Yongpyong’s best terrain closed for the Olympic slalom events, High1 is hands down the best place to ski during the upcoming winter. The hill’s as big as they come in Korea, with the best terrain, and they have decent freestyle offerings. They also have a 40% discount on lift tickets for foreign tourists, which offsets the long journey to get there.

See the Snow Guide Korea High1 page for details

2. Welli Hilli Park

Halfpipe at Welli Hilli Park

If you’re after park & pipe, the usual advice would be to hit Phoenix Park or Welli Hilli, but with Phoenix Park given over to the Olympic freestyle events Welli Hilli is head & shoulders above the rest for freestyle in the 2017/18 season.

See the Snow Guide Korea Welli Hilli Park page for details

3. Muju Deogyusan

On the slopes at Muju Deogyusan Resort, Korea

Muju Deogyusan is Korea’s largest resort after High1 & Yongpyong, and actually has the biggest vertical drop and longest runs. It’s not so great for freestyle, but for downhill skiing it’ll be the best available along with High1 during the Olympic period. It also has the closest thing you’ll find to an Alpine village and is situated in a beautiful national park, making it an attractive option.

See the Snow Guide Korea Muju Deogyusan page for details

4. Yongpyong

Snow bikers at Yongpyong

Even with its best terrain (specifically, the gondola and ‘Rainbow’ & ‘Silver’ areas) being closed for the Pyeonchang 2018 slalom events, Yongpyong still has enough to offer to warrant a place on this list. With those sections out of action, the remainder of the mountain is still the 3rd-biggest in the country in 2017/18; they make a decent effort with their park, too, so Yongpyong remains a good all-round choice even during the Olympic season.

See the Snow Guide Korea Yongpyong page for details

5. Konjiam

Konjiam Resort

Purely from a riding perspective, Vivaldi Park and Oak Valley probably both deserve to be on this list ahead of Konjiam; however, Konjiam makes the cut out of sheer convenience. With free shuttle buses taking as little as 40 minutes from Sadang & Jamsil, Konjiam is the best choice for a quick & easy day on the slopes if you’re in Seoul and don’t want to make the trip over to Gangwon-do province. It’s small, but the size & quality is decent for a Seoul local hill.

See the Snow Guide Korea Konjiam page for details

What do you think about this list? Agree? Think it’s nonsense? Leave a comment below!

For full reviews of every ski resort in Korea, see here; also check out the best Korean ski resorts according to various criteria, and this size comparison of Korea’s ski resorts using satellite imagery.

If you’re looking for Pyeongchang 2018 accommodation options, see here. For the Paralympics click here


40 comments on “Top 5 Korean Ski Resorts During the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics
  1. Geraldine says:

    Hi!

    Your blog is really helpful especially as I am going to Korea for the Winter Olympics.

    A quick question, are visitors required to stay at the resort to use the snowboard/ski facilities? i.e. Is it possible to make a trip to the various resorts just to snowboard and return to Seoul thereafter?

    That rooms are limited (and probably sold out), it would be nice to stay in seoul and travel to the resorts to snowboard then return to Seoul.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Geraldine, glad to hear the site’s useful!

      No, you don’t have to stay at a resort to ski at it – it’s very common to do day-trips from Seoul (it’s what I usually do), and at the resorts closer to the city this is what the vast majority of skiers do.

      If you’re coming during the Olympics and staying in Seoul, I recommend skiing at Welli Hilli Park which you can easy reach on the new KTX bullet train. You can search & book Seoul hotels here, and see my pages on Welli Hilli Park here and the new KTX here.

      Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any more questions!

      • Geraldine says:

        It definitely helped! Would it be possible to go and book private lessons there with an instructor who speaks English?

        • Simon Norton says:

          Hi again Geraldine, yes that should be possible – though just be aware that although the resorts do have English speaking instructors not all of them can, and they might not be available immediately. In other words, you might have to wait a while until an English-speaker is free to give you a lesson. As long as you’re prepared for that possibility, it should be fine (once you’ve bought your lift ticket it’s probably a good idea to go straight to the ski school counter to see how soon they can arrange it).

          Did you decide to go to Welli Hilli?

          • Geraldine says:

            Not yet. Am hoping I can make an advance booking for an instructor, especially since I’m new to snowboarding. So hopefully, that works out. But Welli Hilli is definitely the prefered choice for now 🙂

            Thanks for the advice again!

            • Simon Norton says:

              Hi Geraldine, if you want to pre-book a lesson I suggest sending them a message via their Facebook page; you can message them in English and they usually respond very promptly. They’ll be able to advise you how to make a booking

  2. Evan says:

    Thank you for sharing this! My friends and I are visiting S. Korea during the winter olympics and was researching about ski resorts that are hosting. Too bad they will be closed during our stay.

    My friends and I are planning to ski/snowboard. Which ski resort would you recommend between Welli Helli and Vivaldi? I know from the list Welli Helli is no. 2. But would really like to hear how these two would compare.

    Thanks! Looking forward to your response.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Evan!

      Between Welli Hilli and Vivaldi, the main difference is freestyle – Welli Hilli has a really good terrain park and a halfpipe, whereas Vivaldi just has a halfpipe. So, if you want to ride park, definitely go for Welli Hilli.

      However if you’re not into freestyle, the two mountains are very similar in terms of size and terrain, so you should probably just go with whichever is more convenient. The free bus means Vivaldi is cheaper to get to… but which one you can reach faster will depend on where you’re staying. Do you know where in Seoul your accommodation is?

  3. Walter says:

    Hi! I’m bringing my family for skiing in mid March right after visiting Seoul . Which hill would you recommend that still has snow and is available (considering the paralympics), especially for intermediate skiers?

    Look forward to your response!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Walter, most resorts are either already closed or super mushy by mid-March, and Phoenix Park will still be closed after the Olympics. The only decent options (possibly the only options full stop) are going to be High1 and Yongpyong (click for access & accomodation details etc). The highest runs at Yongpyong will also still be closed though (following Olympics), so what’s open there will be mushy – High1 will therefore definitely be the best choice from a skiing perspective. It’s the furthest away though, so if the journey time is too off-putting head to Yongpyong. (The Paralympic downhill events are being held at Jeongseon, which isn’t open to the public anyway). Let me know if you have any questions!

      • Walter says:

        Thanks for your help. You’ve convinced us to settle with High1. I’m just concerned if the kids can deal with the steeper slopes and if there is anything else we can visit or do while we’re there.

        • Simon Norton says:

          Hi, don’t worry about the slopes, they have a good mix of gradients & difficulty level. If you stay at the actual resort (rather than in town) there’s a whole bunch of general resort stuff to do (restaurants, swimming pool, casino, etc). Then the town has more restaurants & cafes too, it’s a pretty small place but ok for a wander about

  4. Bluenose says:

    Hi,

    We are actually coming 2 weeks before the Olympics (25-28Jan) and was wondering if the Olympic ski sites will be closed for prep.

    If not, can you pls recommend some ski options (including accommodations/resorts). We will stay in SEL on 25Jan.

    Also, what is the best transportation to get to wherever you recommend?

    Our plan would be to ski on arrival on the 26Jan, all day on the 27Jan (ie. 2 nights) and then get transportation back to SEL/ICN on 28Jan and take a flight out.

    Your advice would be helpful.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Bluenose, on your dates Phoenix Park will already be closed for the Olympics; Yongpyong will be half open, and the other two (Alpensia & Jeongseon) aren’t opening for skiing at all this season.

      However, if you’re intending to stay at a resort for 2 nights, be aware that basically most of the in-resort accommodation is booked out.

      Given these two points, your best option by far is High1. It has the best skiing available in Korea this season, and also the accommodation options in the nearby towns of Gohan & Sabuk makes it easier to find somewhere to stay. Click to see hotels in Gohan and Sabuk, and see my High1 page for general information including links to the in-resort accommodation (probably all booked, but worth checking anyway) and access details – the direct buses are the best option, see here.

      Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any questions!

      • Bluenose says:

        Thx for ur High 1 suggestion, Simon. I booked at Mayhills.

        Just 2 more q’s:
        1. What’s the best way to get to High 1 direct fr Incheon? Will I need to go into Seoul first to get a bus/train?

        2. Is the Olympic hockey venue close by?

        • Simon Norton says:

          Awesome, glad you were able to find something!

          You can go direct from the airport by bus. See here for details, basically you can either book the TourtoKorea bus or take the public bus to Singohan bus terminal (and taxi from there to the resort).

          To get to the Olympic hockey venue in Gangneung would take a couple of hours, you’d need to take a bus from Singohan bus terminal to Gangneung bus terminal, then taxi to the Olympic Park… I’m not sure how close you can actually get to it right now though.

  5. Katy says:

    Hi Simon,
    I think this is the clearest and most informative article about skiing during the Olympics.
    We are coming to watch the Winter Olympics and are staying in Donghae. If we wanted to do a day’s skiing or a half day is there anywhere we can get to easily? What would you do if you were us?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Katy, I’d go to High1. To get there, take the mugunghwa train (local train) from Donghae to Gohan (80 minutes), and High1 has regular shuttle buses (15 mins) from Gohan Station up to the resort.

      Alternatively, you could take the bus up to Gangneung (40 mins), then ride the KTX to Jinbu (15 mins) & shuttle bus to Yongpyong (20 mins), or ride the KTX to Dunnae (30 mins) & shuttle bus to Welli Hilli Park (10 mins). For these two, you’d also have to factor in getting from the Gangneung bus terminal to Gangneung Station by taxi or shuttle bus.

      All in, High1 will be cheaper to get to and it’s a better hill.

      • Katy says:

        Oh perfect – thank you!
        Just one more thing, is it advisable to get passes ahead of time or is it simple to buy it when we arrive?
        Also for timing purposes, how long is a typical ski day in South Korea, in Europe, we’re heading back down by 3pm.

        • Simon Norton says:

          Haha, Korean resorts are open until crazy o’clock, some of them are open 19 hours a day! (but also they all have this weird “snow grooming” break around 4:30 or 5pm for 2 hours, so that splits it into day & night skiing).

          In High1’s case, they’re open 8:30-16:00 and 18:00-22:00. Ticket hours are here, you have quite a long journey to get there so I’d suggest going for 12:00-16:00. If you’re used to the Alps you’ll probably find 4 hours to be plenty to cover the whole mountain anyway.

          No need to buy passes ahead of time, just get them at the ticket counter when you arrive. If you have all your own gear already it’s very no-nonsense, just grab a pass & off you go. Enjoy!

          (oh, one more thing – take your passports with you as High1 has a 40% discount, you just have to get a resort card first and I think they’ll ask to see your passport to do that)

  6. Maccander says:

    Hi,

    My husband and I are travelling to Pyeongchang for the Olympic Games next month and are hoping to get at least two days of snowboarding in ourselves. We don’t want to lug all of our equipment there however, so we were wondering if the resorts you suggest in your post offer rental gear.

    Also, we’re planning Yongpyong one of the days but weren’t sure of our second day. We are staying right in Alpensia, with no rental car (we’re doing the KTX from Seoul and between venues if necessary) and again, would like to rent gear. Where would you recommend?

    Thanks for all your posts – they’ve been so helpful in our trip planning!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi, yes you can rent gear at the resorts – I’d advise bringing your own gloves & goggles at least though, as they’re not usually included.

      For your second day I’d advise Welli Hilli Park. Take the KTX from Jinbu Station to Dunnae Station, then the Welli Hilli shuttle bus to the resort. It’s just 2 stops on the KTX, taking 15 minutes, but only some of the trains stop at both so check the schedule here (scroll down and make sure you check the correct dates!); and you can see the shuttle bus schedule here (3rd table is Dunnae Station > resort, 4th table is resort > station)

      Hope you have a great trip!

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi Simon,

    Thank you for all the great tips. I am traveling to Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics in a few days and hope to get some days off for skiing. We will be staying in Gangneung and we’re wondering what the best ski area would be considering transportation/ possibility to rent gear and of course a good slope.

    Thanks!

    Sarah

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Sarah, I’d recommend skiing at Yongpyong (shuttle bus from Jinbu Station) and Welli Hilli Park (shuttle bus from Dunnae Station). These are the best 2 for you transportation-wise as you can just jump on the KTX, and they’re both decent hills. For the best hill available you can head down to High1, but it’s more effort to get there – bus to Gohan, then shuttle bus to the resort, taking probably 2.5 to 3 hours in total.

  8. Steve DesJardins says:

    I am planning to ski for an afternoon at Yongpyong during the olympics. Am planning to bring just my boots (from the US) to minimize luggage and not get stuck with poor boots/those that don’t fit nicely. I presume the rentals would have adjustable bindings to accommodate my boots, but don’t want to lug them there only to find out they do not. Please advise.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Steve, you’ve got me there I’m afraid, I’ve never rented in Korea. I would also think that they would, but I don’t know this for sure. But personally I hate putting my feet in rental boots! So I’d take my own, even if there’s a chance it’d be a wasted effort. Try contacting the resort directly for a more conclusive answer

  9. Lukas says:

    Hi Simon,

    Me and my friend are going to seoul for skiing this feb. we are 1st time skier with zero experience. We will be staying in the resort on 4th feb and check out on 5th. We prefer to stay in the resort so that we can prob ski in late evening. Which resort will you be recommend for a 2D1N for beginner, since the rest is closed, i am looking between vivaldi and welli hilli, can you advise which one is better and less crowded?

    Also, if we check out on 5th, can we keep our lugagge and still going to ski until we return to seoul? Thanks alot.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Lukas,

      To be honest there isn’t much difference between them for beginners. Welli Hilli is better for more advanced riders, but for learners they both have appropriate lesson slopes. And they’ll both be crowded if you go on the weekend, or semi-crowded on a weekday. Evening skiing should be quieter, but make sure you’re ready for some serious cold!

      So I guess you may as well just base your decision on the accommodation & transportation situation. Check Welli Hilli accommodation here and Vivaldi here, and see what’s available & what price (to be honest it might be hard to get a room in February, so you might not have a choice anyway).

      And yes I’d expect you can store you luggage at the accommodation reception for free (although I’ve never done so), but even if you can’t there are plenty of lockers you’d be able to use for that purpose.

      Hope you manage to book a room, and let me know if you have any further questions. Have a great trip!

  10. Jagathish Nat says:

    Hi Simon,

    Your blog is very informative, contains exactly all the information need for a traveler. Thanks for your effort.

    I need a advice from you. I’m travelling to Seoul from 15-20 Feb 2018. I know my travel date is super peak time because of winter Olympics and Lunar new Year (Seollal). I planning to visit a ski resort during this period. My plan is 2D1N to be spent at ski resort (if accommodation not available at resort, maybe need to look at nearby city). Or do you suggest day trip from Seoul (for whichever ski resort you suggesting)?
    Which Ski resort will you suggest for my plan among Elysian, Vilvadi and Welli Hilli? FYI this is my first time for ski (just want to give a try) and first time to Korea
    Really appreciate your advice.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi, for a beginner it doesn’t really make any difference if you go to Elysian, Vivaldi, or Welli Hilli. So you can choose the resort according to where has accommodation available, and the travel logistics (you can go to Vivaldi by free shuttle bus, Elysian by subway, Welli Hilli by more expensive bullet train).

      Click these links to check the accommodation & travel details for each resort: Elysian Gangchon, Vivaldi Park, Welli Hilli Park

      Hope you can find something, and let me know if you have any more questions

  11. Andréa says:

    Great info! Exactly what I was looking for. I’m staying at Phoenix Resort at the moment but would love to go skiing myself one day. Which resort is the esiest one to get to from there? Cheers

    • Simon Norton says:

      Cheers Andréa!

      Closest to there is Welli Hilli Park. In theory you can get there by taking the shuttle bus to Pyeongchang Station, KTX to Dunnae Station, and then the Welli Hilli shuttle from there. However, if you check the schedule here (pages 4 & 5) you can see that very few trains stop at both stations on the same run.

      For that reason, it’s actually going to be easier to go to Yongpyong. You can do it by free shuttle, see the diagram here (scroll down), the route is TS6 > TS5. Should take about an hour to get there.

  12. Marc Spiegel says:

    I know that you mentioned most ski resorts will be closed by mid-March.
    However, I will be in Pyeonchang for the Paralympics from March 8th to the 12th/13th and am looking to go skiing one day, if possible. Will any ski resorts near Pyeonchang be open at that time and do you have any recommendations? (Would consider myself of intermediate level.) Do most resorts rent ski equipment? Any idea what the cost would be for equipment rental and a lift ticket? Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for your help.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Marc,

      Yongpyong’s going to be your best option as it’s right there in Pyeongchang. You could also go to High1, but it’s further away.

      Yes they do rent equipment, and for ideas of prices see here

  13. Cyrus Brooks says:

    Hi, thanks for this data. I was thinking about 2 options. One was to be local in Seoul and go to some place not far, like Elysian or Pocheon Bear Resort, alternatively to ski and watch the olympics in the same trip. I’m an intermediate (self-taught) skiier, only try the steepest slopes when I’m feeling crazy. (one success, one wipe-out LOL)

    Question, do you know how to get discounts for foreigners, or late season, etc? I am on a budget. I have none of my own equipment. I just want to ski a couple times before the season closes, hopefully this week.

    Secondly, if not a resort near Seoul, but at the Olymmpics, is there skiing near there good enough for intermediate skiiers? I’m hoping to go on a weekday. Even tomorrow if I can swing it!!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Cyrus,

      It’s still too early for the late-season discounts, they’re about in March/April. You can get a 40% discount at Yongpyong – you do this by getting a prepaid resort card for 50000 won, then you use that card to buy your ticket with 40% discount. This leaves enough credit on the resort card to buy food, so essentially you save 10000 won on your ticket and get free lunch.

      As for resorts near the Olympics, again, Yongpyong is a good call for intermediate skiing. There’s also Welli Hilli Park, but that’s only a better option if you want to ride park & pipe.

      So I’d say either Yongpyong, or one of the Seoul area hills (Elysian’s a good call – easy to get to, and nice intermediate terrain. Bearstown’s a bit bigger, but worse access)

      Have a great day, wherever you go!

  14. Susan says:

    During the Paralympics, we plan to ski at YongPyong where equipment rental is included with our lodging. Do you know if that includes helmets or do we need to bring our own?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Susan, you can rent helmets at Yongpyong but I’m afraid I’ve no idea if that’s included in your lodging deal!

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