New season and coronavirus update

Well, last season was cut short by the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, and unfortunately as we head into the new season the pandemic is still very much a problem.

You can still visit Korea as a tourist depending on your nationality, basically if your country is still allowing Korean tourists to enter then Korea is probably allowing your nationality to enter (but do check with official sources, obviously)

The problem is that in order to do so, you have to agree to complete a 14-day quarantine stint in a government quarantine facility (i.e. a hotel which has been commandeered for the purpose) at your own expense. I actually did this so I could stay in Korea for a few months over the summer (trying to avoid the much worse virus situation in the UK), and you can read my account here

Most international visitors stay in Korea for less than 14 days, so obviously tourism has crashed in Korea as it has everywhere, and I don’t expect there will be many international guests on the Korean slopes this winter. Most of those who are will be resident foreigners.

But maybe that’s you, and if so hopefully my site will still be useful to at least a few people this winter.

One advantage of course is that the slopes will be less crowded than usual, especially resorts like Vivaldi Park which usually get a ton of tourists. Also locals will probably be skiing less too, with a lot of people choosing to mostly stay at home.

So if you are in Korea for work or for an extended stay on a tourist stamp, make the most of it and get some snow in!

Opening for the earliest resorts in Gangwon-do is late November, with Vivaldi Park announcing their opening day on Nov 27th, Welli Hilli and Alpensia on Dec 4th, and Phoenix Park open until 4pm from Nov 30th then fully open from Dec 4th. I’ll keep adding opening dates for other resorts as and when I get them. updates: Yongpyong Dec 1st, Elysian Dec 4th, High1 Dec 11th, Jisan Forest Dec 5th, Konjiam Dec 8th

As usual, fire away below with any questions.

6 comments on “New season and coronavirus update
  1. Vias says:

    Simon, thank you for your research and for maintaining this gem of a page! I currently live in Korea, so it is quite insightful.

    Apart from the Ski resorts you mentioned, Jisan Forest will be opening on Saturday, Dec 5th. I live in the Incheon area, so I believe this is the closest one to folks living there, about an hour drive.

    • Simon Norton says:

      Cheers Vias – and thanks for giving me a kick to update the page!

      Yes if driving from Incheon you’d want to hit either Jisan or Konjiam, or maybe Bearstown.

  2. Frank Nam says:

    Hi Simon,

    As a Seattle snowboarder I appreciated all the PacNW shoutouts in your opening blog (Mt Baker lifties and using Cypress and Whistler to compare/contrast sizes of resorts here).

    Question for you, should I rent gear at the resorts or in Seoul someplace? I brought my jacket and pants but need everything else.

    Also I know you said only the highest resorts occasionally get good snow – is there a website that tracks POW dumps here in Korea?

    Thanks for putting this site together!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hey Frank,

      Cheers man, Cypress was my home mountain for a couple of winters back in the day so did a good bit of riding in the region.

      I do sometimes rent boards – e.g. if I’m messing about with public transport and can’t be bothered taking mine, so I can just take my own boots and it’s way less hassle – and I always just rent from the resort when I do that. The local towns near the resorts have shops too, if you have a car you can stop at those on the way.

      The snowboard shops in Seoul are all in Hakdong (in Gangnam) near Eonju Station (heading north from the station along Nonhyeon-ro) but as far as I’m aware they don’t even do rentals. May be wrong on that, but yeah I’d prefer to just rent at the hill anyway for convenience – the gear isn’t fantastic obviously, but it works fine and is well enough maintained.

      As for pow, yeah it’s the Gangwon resorts east of Wonju that have the best chance i.e. Welli Hilli, Phoenix, Alpensia, Yongpyong, and High1, and generally if one of those is getting pow they probably all are. No special local pow website I know of, I just use Snow Forecast plus the usual weather sites.

      I’m stuck in England this winter, enjoy the snow and put some turns in for me!

  3. Jaana Pauls says:

    Hi Simon,
    We are planning to go to High 1 next weekend, and it’s our first winter here in Korea. I’m trying to look at their webpage and it is showing some of the runs are OPEN but it’s only marked for the morning? Can you help me with this question. Are they open for full days and this is just a website oversight??! I’m so glad to have found your webpage/blog, will be totally reading around more and utilizing it!

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Jaana,

      Their Korean site says the present hours are 9am to 7pm (if that’s what you were already looking at, the 야간 column means night skiing)

      Hope you have a great trip! Give me a shout if you have any more questions

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Hi I’m Simon, British snowboard addict & travel blogger presently based in NE Asia. I run this site to help international visitors plan their trips to Korean ski resorts; you might also be interested in my travel blog, especially the Korea sightseeing and Japan snowboarding content

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