Winter Korea: Here’s what it’s like to go skiing in South Korea!

South Korea is probably one of the most sought-after destinations for a lot young Filipinos during this time of the year. In fact, most Filipinos who go to South Korea often go there not just to experience snow, but also to shop, eat, and to live out their K-pop dreams. On TV, we see Korea as a very modern and urbanized country, but it is actually mostly surrounded by snow-covered mountain ranges. It’s one of the few places in Asia where you can go skiing during the day and be back in the city by night to shop, dine, or even party.   South Korea Guide (2018 Blog Series)  Ultimate Guide to Seoul, South Korea! • Trout Festival at the Winter Wonderland in Pyeongchang, South Korea South Korea Day Trip: Nami Island, Petite France and Morning Calm Garden! For Filipinos, “winter sports” doesn’t really come to mind when planning a trip to South Korea. https://flic.kr/p/23YLEjr But with the recently held Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, winter sports like skiing & snowboarding are slowly getting attention. Ever since I started wakeboarding and skateboarding in the Philippines, I have always dreamt of hitting the snowy slopes on skis or a snowboard. https://flic.kr/p/23YLDMV There is no better way to do just that than by going to the best and most popular ski resort in South Korea. https://flic.kr/p/25h1B3f Located just an hour away from Seoul, Vivaldi Ski Park is perhaps the most popular among younger Koreans and tourists every winter. https://flic.kr/p/24g8AvA The ski resort is the largest outdoor facility of its kind in the country and is well equipped with modern facilities and hotels. https://flic.kr/p/25h1VA7 In total, there are 13 ski/snowboard slopes to choose from, each with their own varying steepness and difficulty–more than enough for most amateur and pro skiers and snowboarders. https://flic.kr/p/25h1ZAS For me, skiing is the easy part…getting to Vivaldi is the hard part. Lucky for us, we booked an English tour with our local travel agency to overcome the language barrier and reach the place safely. https://flic.kr/p/FFunTV But first, we needed some gear. https://flic.kr/p/FFuoEz Part of the package we availed includes the proper clothing and protective gear. They don’t rent out gear in the ski park so we had to visit a nearby shop outside where we then decided whether we’d want to ski or snowboard. https://flic.kr/p/24g8wCf They recommended that I try skiing first because it’s easier and has a more relaxed learning curve compared to snowboarding. Plus, I heard you’ll need more gear, like helmets and pads, because you’ll probably end up falling more on a snowboard. https://flic.kr/p/24g8yKb Right after we collected our winter clothing (ski jackets, trousers, goggles, and gloves for skiing), we then went to the park to rent out the proper skis, sticks, and boots. https://flic.kr/p/24g8BJ7 Soon enough, we were almost ready to hit the slopes! Before we got started, we had to learn the basics first. https://flic.kr/p/Hd29pb Again, lucky for us, our tour also included English-speaking guides who taught us the basics of skiing until we were able to stand and ski downhill on our own. https://flic.kr/p/Hd29Th Putting on the gear and standing up completely is easy. But before we started riding, we first had to learn how to ski and walk on a flat surface. https://flic.kr/p/FFukXk It took some time for me get balanced and slowly walk with bulky long skis, but after a couple of minutes, I knew I was ready. https://flic.kr/p/25h1YfA To get to the top of the hill, we had to go through and line up with a mixed crowd of pro and amateur skiers and snowboarders. https://flic.kr/p/22zPyLC My guide took me to one of the shortest and easiest slopes in the park. We had to ride a ski lift or gondola to get there. https://flic.kr/p/25kLd9c There are many gondola lines in the park, with specific ones that would bring you to the different heights of the slopes. https://flic.kr/p/22zPxGU The gondola ride by itself was such a treat because it gives you an overview of how massive the whole park is. https://flic.kr/p/24g8ofU From the bottom all the way to the top, it took us roughly two minutes to reach the shortest slope. It may look scary but it actually was a slow and steady ride. https://flic.kr/p/23YLCCv Once you reach the top, a friendly crew/dispatcher welcomes you in local Korean, a simple yet sweet gesture that boosts each and everyone’s morale. https://flic.kr/p/25h1Mh3 The moment I set foot on top of the slope, I knew this wasn’t what I signed up for. https://flic.kr/p/23YLGet Kidding aside, the slope really does look much taller and scarier in person than it does on photos and videos. https://flic.kr/p/22zPqzh Especially this one, which I’m told is not even the steepest in the park…yikes! https://flic.kr/p/23YLCuz I reached the bottom of the slope slowly but safely, and because of my background in skating and skateboarding, I didn’t really fall on my face during the first run. https://flic.kr/p/24g8mMo We were given a whole day to spend at the park, and the moment my guide knew that I could handle my self, he encouraged me to try it on my own without her supervision. https://flic.kr/p/25h1U4E Which was effective. I find it better (for me) to learn everything as you go because some things can only be taught by self-discovery. https://flic.kr/p/25h1QL7 I tried and tried again until I was stable and confident enough to ski a bit faster each time. https://flic.kr/p/22zPwed Seeing myself improve on every run pushed me even more and prepared me for the much higher slopes. Seeing kids doing different trick and stunts was also very “encouraging.” https://flic.kr/p/23YLDmV And after a couple more runs, I knew I was ready to hit the big one. https://flic.kr/p/23YLCWX The gondola ride itself to the top was a minute longer, which meant this slope was no joke. https://flic.kr/p/23YLEFP Looking at the slope from the top gave me chills; it was much higher than what I imagined. https://flic.kr/p/23YLF66 It was at that moment I knew there was no other way but down. https://flic.kr/p/23YLFAz Surprisingly, I was able to overcome my doubts and reach the bottom of the hill after a couple of seconds (and in one piece). https://flic.kr/p/25h1Bvj Not without a couple of falls and skids along the way, but it was all worth it! https://flic.kr/p/Hd29ZE I genuinely enjoyed the whole skiing experience! It was a unique and fun activity that one doesn’t get to do every day. Tiring and challenging, yes, but all worth it nonetheless! The whole process of going up the slopes with a gondola and then skiing downhill is what completes the experience. The only downside is that the wait tends to take longer, especially during the afternoon. So if you ever plan on going on a ski trip, I highly suggest that you come on a weekday to maximize your time and not waste it on lining up. Aside from that, the whole tour was a complete package! Everything went smoothly and was even better than I expected. It may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely worth a try!   South Korea Guide (2018 Blog Series)  Ultimate Guide to Seoul, South Korea! • Trout Festival at the Winter Wonderland in Pyeongchang, South Korea South Korea Day Trip: Nami Island, Petite France and Morning Calm Garden! JUAN WORLD PHILIPPINES 34i Le Grand Tower 2, Eastwood City, Quezon City Facebook: @juanworldphilippines Email: promotions@juanworld.ph Website: http://www.juanworld.ph Contact: (+632) 636 0739, +63 917 529 2200 Live an Awesome Life, abi signature NICO of Team Our Awesome Planet Disclosure: Our tour in South Korea was courtesy of Juan World Philippines & Starway Korea. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. P.S. Note: I highly suggest you join an English tour package. Not only is it hassle-free, you also save time, effort, and money. Not to mention that it’s hard to get around Korea without knowing the local language.

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