In order to qualify as a Winter Olympic host resort/city, the venues must meet the minimum requirements for each event. In Pyeongchang’s case a long-term plan to bid for the Games was initiated in 2003, which saw the construction of Alpensia Resort (completed in 2011) to include most of the required infrastructure, most notably the ski jump tower and bobsleigh track.
However, at the time of bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics, one key piece of winter sports infrastructure was still absent from Pyeongchang – and, indeed, the whole of Korea – namely, a ski slope meeting the minimum requirement of at least 800m vertical drop stipulated for the Men’s Alpine Downhill.
The Pyeongchang 2018 bid therefore had to include the construction of a purpose-built ski hill, and the result is the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. Although not actually in Pyeongchang County (it’s in the neighbouring county of Jeongseon), the venue hosted the Downhill, Super-G, and Combined events of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Construction started in 2014 and was finished in late 2017; Jeongseon Alpine Centre was officially inaugurated in 2016 and hosted several World Cup events in the 2016/17 season in preparation for the Olympics.
The vertical drop of 825m is the greatest in Korea, with a steeper overall gradient than any other Korean resort; however, the skiing public won’t ever get to ride it as organisers have committed to returning the area to its natural state following the Games due to environmental concerns – although it seems this isn’t technically possible, as it’s one of Korea’s last areas of virgin forest but tens of thousands of trees were removed. In any case, as things stand the ski slopes at Jeongseon will remain abandoned now that the Olympics & Paralympics have been and gone.
For more information see the Jeongseon page on the official Pyeongchang 2018 site here, and the Wikipedia page here.
Any questions about Jeongseon Alpine Centre? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
For more Gangwon-do resorts, see here; for full reviews of every Korean ski resort, 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.
Do you know if there are any plans to expand Jeongseon after the Olympics?
I understand that Jeongseon will have the best vert once it opens. However, it looks like it is really just two full lines, with an additional two sub-pistes in the mountain’s midsection. The truck/snow mobile access (the meandering skinny line going from top to bottom) would be pretty fun to cruise, especially for less advanced skiers/boarders. However, if they actually open that up in season, you wouldn’t be able to let loose going down the Olympic runs because you’d constantly be getting crossed by beginners/slower skiers/boarders.
I point all this out, because even with Jeongseon’s vert, Yongpyong will probably still be the overall better resort for intermediate and advanced skiers/boarders. Yongpyong has several good, almost technical, “rainbow” runs that are normally completely uninhabited and the “gold” runs provide some decent variety while also avoiding the bulk of the crowds. You add the “gold” and the “rainbow” together and Yongpyong has more going for it before you even include the crowded “red” and “silver” runs.
Hi again, since you posted your comment I’ve learned that Jeongseon is to be dismantled immediately after the Olympics, due to protests over the environmental impact on an area of virgin forest. I’ve updated the info on this page accordingly
I’m pretty sure this only came out in English language media a couple days ago. It would have been nice if the AP was reporting on this a couple years ago, like they did with all the bullcrap Beijing did building venues for their Summer Olympics.
This may be the single dumbest venue decision an Olympics host has ever made, certainly in my life time. At least with all the white elephants in Brazil and Greece, not to mention the World Cup Stadiums in South Africa, national officials can claim they thought the venues would be used someday for something.
They spent untold amounts of money on this thing, bulldozed 60,000+ trees, moved dozens of people out of their homes and completely reshaped a mountain just for one event?..and now those people have no chance of ever getting a semi-decent tourism related job. I thought the reason South Korea hosted this in Pyeongchang and not Seoul or even Gangneung was so they could “develop” the crappy hinterlands of Gangwon-Do.
If I knew about this ahead of time, I may not have attended any of the alpine skiing events at the Olympics. Not that I would have been missed, the venue was over half empty with or without me…what a waste.
Aye, the felling of all those trees just to satisfy the Olympic downhill requirements is a sickener. I think the IOC should’ve made a special exemption to allow a slightly shorter course than usual, and then they could’ve used existing ski slopes instead of making this temporary new one at such environmental cost.
As for this: “I thought the reason South Korea hosted this in Pyeongchang and not Seoul”
It may make (slightly!) more sense if you consider that the SK national govt didn’t make the bid – it was always a regional effort by the Gangwon-do provincial govt (they built Alpensia specifically for that purpose – now it’s served its purpose, the white elephant probability seems high). They finally got the KTX done as a result of the bid so that’s probably seen as a success, but who foots the bill for maintaining all the Games venues is already the subject of debate between regional & national govts.
I’m also curious to see what happens to the new luxury hotel at the base of Jeongseon!
So I am right to think Gangneung KTX bullet train will be included in 5/7 day passes to Olympic Park during Olympic Park for spectators? Or will it be separate ticket?
Hi Alina, you mean the 5/7 day Pyeongchang Pass, right? Yes, the Gangneung KTX is included if you buy the Pyeongchang Pass. If you’re attending an event at Jeongseon Alpine Centre, take the KTX to Jinbu Station, then the free shuttle bus to the event.
Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any more questions!
will I need to buy a Korail ticket if we a staying in Gangneung and going to some ski / snowboard events?
Yes, you will. If you’re going to an event at Bokwang Phoenix Park, you need to ride the KTX to Pyeongchang Station (2 stops). For events at the other 3 resorts (Alpensia, Yongpyong, and Jeongseon) you need to ride the KTX to Jinbu Station (1 stop).
Hope this helps, and have a great trip!
Update: it’s also possible to get to the events just using the shuttle buses (as shown here), though this will take longer.
Does anyone know if there are dining facilities open for breakfast at the Jeongsan Alpine Center during the Olympics? We have an EARLY morning train from Seoul to Jinbu for Men’s Downhill; was hoping to eat onsite at the Alpine Center before the event.
Hi Leanna, I’m sorry I have absolutely no idea if there are dining facilities at Jeongseon. If you’re unable to confirm about that, you can always take breakfast on the train and eat en route
During the Paralympics, when will the following supporter transits be open please?
WHAT TIME DO THE FOLLOWING ROUTES RUN ON WHICH DAYS?
TS1 Jinbu jeongseon
TS4 Alpensia Jinbu
TS8 Alpensia Pyeongchang Olympic Park
TS7 Pyeongchang Olympic Park Alpensia
TS30 Pyeongchang Olympic Park Jinbu
The shuttle buses are scheduled to operate each day from 3 hours before the start of the day’s first event, until 2 hours after the end of the last event.
Hi, what are your recommended accommodations if I would like to watch the Alpine skiing competitions at Jeongseon Alpine centre only, Feb 15-22.
In terms of travel logistics, it’d be best to be near Jinbu Station (from where you take the shuttle to Jeongseon Alpine Centre, 25 mins). Or you could stay in Daegwallyeong (which is the small town near the Alpensia venues), which would require an additional 20-minute shuttle bus (changing at Jinbu Station) but be better in terms of facilities & atmosphere. Here’s a link to see hotels in the Jinbu/Daegwallyeong area on Hotels.com
If you’d rather be in the city, you could stay in Gangneung (see hotels in Gangneung) and use the KTX train to Jinbu Station to switch to the shuttle.
Let me know if you have any more questions
There appears to be a new hotel at Jeongseon – the Park Roche.
We will be attending the Paralympics and have 4 consecutive days at the mountain cluster events. We are currently booked at YongPyong resort which is convenient to Alpensia. However 3 of our 4 events are at Jeongseon and only 1 is at Alpensia. So would be convenient to stay at the Park Roche (I think – trying to confirm it is actually AT the venue as opposed to NEAR the venue but not walkable)
BTW we will arriving the morning of our first event on the train with our suitcases so have to drop them off at the hotel before going to our event so obviously would be more convenient if the hotel was at the event. Having to go from train station to YongPyong hotel to drop off stuff and then to Jeongseon for the event is a pain compared to just going to Jeongseon directly. Also, not sure if shuttles will run from YongPyong during Paralympics as it is not a venue for those Games.
1. Will Yongpyong have shuttles during Paraympics
2. Is Park Roche at the actual venue for alpine events
3. Any recommendation re the hotel? It looks very nice but I also thought it might be a bit isolated (note it is more expensive than Yongpyong)
So there does, good spot! I was wondering what all the big buildings were at the base of Jeongseon Alpine Centre – given that they’re not keeping it as a ski resort in future I figured it seemed unlikely they’d build a hotel there, but there it is. Thanks for pointing its existence out to me!
To answer your questions:
1. Sorry, I’m still trying to work this out. I’m heading to Pyeongchang & Gangneung again over the next few days, so hopefully can find someone with a concrete answer to this (and various other questions!)
2. Yes it appears to be right at the base of the mountain. From what I understand of the set up for events at Jeongseon, after you go through security and enter the venue you then ride a chairlift up to the spectator area. The hotel looks to be about 500m from the venue entrance. So, looks like it’s maybe about an 8-minute walk, then security check, then chairlift and you’re in the stands.
3. It does look nice, and yes it’s definitely very isolated. That’s a trade off you’ll make if you stay there – convenient for the events, but not for anything else. I’ve just checked and found it’s presently available at 68% discount here, so if you want to stay there you might want to jump on that!
Hope this helps, and let me know what you end up doing. Cheers!
Hi again Susan, when I was in Yongpyong this week I met some people who are staying at the Park Roche.
They told me it’s a walk of a few hundred metres from the hotel to the venue entrance, and that once you’re inside there’s a bit more walking then a chairlift ride (or assisted access vehicles) up to the spectator area. They also said the hotel is indeed very nice but very isolated – they’d been paying 50 dollars for taxis to Alpensia & Yongpyong to avoid the lengthy shuttle bus transfer via Jinbu.
I’ve also been advised by officials that they don’t yet know the routes & schedules for the Paralympics shuttle buses, so still not clear if Yongpyong will be on the shuttle route or not.
Thanks Simon! I ended up booking us for one night there as we are seeing events two days in a row there. That way we avoid all shuttle buses during that period! I got a slightly better rate than advertised (but not as good as yours). Then, incredibly, when we start with our XC events, the Intercontinental Alpensia had a room come available for 2 nights at a reasonable rate. So we can go right there and again, once we are there, not worry about shuttles.
Two more questions: We will be staying at Yongpyong during the opening and closing ceremonies. Is that close to the Olympic Stadium? Also, we will ski there as it is included in our reservation. Equipment is included but we are wondering if helmets are included in the equipment or if we have to bring ours. Do you know?
Good stuff Susan, sounds like your plan has come together nicely!
Yongpyong is quite close to the stadium, in terms of being a short shuttle bus or taxi ride. It’s not walking distance though. We’re still waiting for the shuttle bus routes to be confirmed, so not sure yet if there’ll actually be a shuttle from Yongpyong or not.
You can rent helmets at Yongpyong, but I’m unable to say if that will be included in your package – you’d better ask them directly.
we plan to travel to korea in dec 2018 with our family of 2 adults and 3 kids (14, 12 and 9) for some skiing. we like to stay in towns near by ski fields and not stay in the resorts. where would be a good place to stay near High1. would there be bus shuttles going from there to High1 so we can get to the ski slopes. is it easy to travel between Pyeong chang and Jeongsong, for a day trip or do you need to spend a few days at each place?
Yes absolutely you can do that, the local towns are called Gohan and Sabuk and there are regular shuttle buses connecting them to High1 (you can actually also walk from Gohan to the Valley House base). Gohan’s probably a bit better than Sabuk for a family trip in terms of restaurants & hotels. You can search for accommodation here, and the shuttle bus schedules are linked in the transportation section here.
As for Jeongseon Alpine Centre, they’re planning to return it to nature once the games are finished so don’t plan on skiing there!
Let me know if you have any further questions