Yongpyong is located in Pyongchang which is an area which has a very different climate from even it's surrounding area. Even when I visited last summer, during one of the hottest weekends in the year, it was pleasantly warm in the day, and a bit chilly at night. Pyongchang sees more snow than most other areas of Korea.
For this reason, Korea is working very hard to get Pyongchang to be the location of the 2018 Olympics. Frankly, I think they have a long way to go. Yongpyong is only one of two ski resorts in the area. The other, a small resort, Alpensia, just opened this year and frankly, just based on the height, can't come close to competing with Yongpyong. Though my boyfriend, who is an expert skier says it's "good for practice".
Since I've already been skiing twice since I've been back (I'm only on week 4 now), my boyfriend has been pushing me to get some better ski wear (aka, stop borrowing all his stuff), so we went down to Dongdaemun to go shopping Friday night. Now, my boyfriend is very picky. He has no problem spending 100,000 won on a pair of gloves if they are the right quality that he is looking for. Myself, on the other hand, spending 100,000 won on a pair of gloves.. or even 50,000 won on a pair of gloves is a little sickening to me. Finally after at least an hour of walking around looking for gloves, I found the right fit. They fit well, AND they were only 35,000 won. Still more than I've ever spent on gloves in my life, but at least my boyfriend approved and I don't have to listen to him complain about my cheap 10,000 won e-mart gloves that I was wearing.
While we were in the basement of Migliore I found the other thing I was sort-of-kind-of in the market for. A helmet. I keep hearing stories of horrible head trauma from getting into accidents while skiing and it made me kind of nervous because I'm getting to that point while skiing that I'm getting better, so I'm starting to go faster down double black diamonds, but I'm not quite at the ski level of one who should be going at those speeds while going down black diamonds. Anyway, the guy told me that he would sell me the helmet for 60,000 won (that's cheap) because my boyfriend bought some goggles at the same booth. (Thank god he found those goggles because we passed about 50 shops before he found just the goggles he was looking for...)
Anyway, we went home happy with our purchases and Saturday afternoon we took off for Yongpyong again. We found a decent hotel to stay the night at. 50,000 won for two people isn't bad I guess. I think my boyfriend felt bad that he didn't want to shell out 150,000 won for a nice place, but frankly, that's a waste of money to me. We chose to sleep on the floor since we were cold and the floors are heated. We had no problems here and Sunday morning early, we headed out to the ski slopes.
I've discovered that buying ski passes at a little ski rental shop called K2 is the best way to go. They sell the passes at a 40% off rate. The day rate for the lift and gondola is 71,000 won, but if I buy it at this little ski shop it's 43,000 won. Quite a big difference. 43,000 for the day doesn't sound so bad, but 71,000 is enough to make one choke. Even if you're not renting skis, you can still get your passes here. I imagine other places have similar offers too. I'm still going here until I can find some poles to by for myself. My boyfriend's old skis and boots fit me. (sad but true).
We made some practice runs on some of the smaller hills and then headed up to Rainbow on the gondola, where the advanced trails are.
We more or less skied those double black diamonds all day (which are prob equivalent to US single black diamonds) and some how I wasn't completely exhausted by the end of the day, like I was last weekend. Near the end of the day we relaxed and did some of the easier/ shorter trails on the other side of the mountain.
After that we met the boyfriend's friends for dinner in Gangneung, but I'll leave that for the next post.