Tuesday, March 6, 2012

High1 Resort on March 2nd, 2012

On Friday, we finally made it down to High1 Resort in Gangwondo. As a regular skier at Yongpyong, Korea's oldest ski resort, coming to High1, one of Korea's newest resorts was a bit of a shock to the system. It was kind of like comparing Las Vegas and Boston. Yongpyong is classic and, for the most part, refined. High1 is flashy, modern and feels a bit like stepping into some unnatural, constructed ski world.

End of Zeus 3 slope at the base of High1

From the base of the ski resort, it's impossible to see the rest of the mountain. It left me feeling really curious about what was up there. Getting into the gondola didn't help either because the snowy/foggy conditions made visibility quite low in the morning.

Midway down Hercules 3, an advanced slope

Looking at the map, there seemed to be quite a few "advanced" and "expert" trails. I was a bit confused what those meant, though, because they don't use the North American standard "green circle" "blue square" and "black diamond" system. Instead hills were color coded green for beginner, blue for intermediate, red for advanced and purple for expert. What the difference between "advanced" and "expert" are I really can't tell you because the two expert trails were both closed, much to our chagrin.

A lunch of Udon noodles and Odeng 꼬치

The problem with High1 for us is that while the elevation is quite high, the resort is actually split between two peaks which meet together in a valley. The valley, unfortunately, is also at a very high elevation, making the actual runs quite short.

Free test skis were available for 1 hour trials

I was also quite surprised at how wet the snow was here on Friday, despite the elevation. Yea, I know it's March now and we can start to call this spring ski season, but the following day in Yongpyong the snow conditions were still great despite all the warm weather we've had. Even at the bottom of the hill.

A view of Victoria 1, an advanced slope that was hosting a snowboarding competition

Anyway, it is a decent ski hill in Korea, considering most resorts here are much smaller that what I'm accustomed to in the states. Probably best to go when the weather is still really cold as all the best trails were closed already when we got there on March 2nd. Also, don't expect long expert runs, despite the elevation, the runs are quite short, not much longer than any of Korea's smaller resorts. I'm glad I went to check it out, but I don't expect I'll be going back any time soon, especially not for spring skiing. One good thing, though, was that the towns at the base of the resort are full of motels and we paid just 30,000 won for one night in a room with a bed.

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