Seoul Day 3: First Ski Experience at Yongpyong Ski Resort

Since Yongpyong Ski Resort were the first ski resort to open in Korea on the dates of our visit, we’ve decided to give it a try given the fact we are only doing full day tour and that is hours drive away from Seoul. Visiting South Korea during early Winter seasons, one of the highlights of our trip is to see snow and experience ski for the first time. If you decided to try ski as well, there are plenty of Ski resort options near Seoul but Yongpyong Resort is the famous and largest ski area in Korea.

 

Yongpyong tours

Checking on their Facebook page, we’ve found out that they offer different packages and we opt for the full day package which includes an English speaking guide, hotel pickup service, transportation to the resort, full day ski pass and ski rentals such as ski, pole, boots, gloves and ski suits. We booked the package at yp.toutokorea.com. Aside from the day tour, the site also offers separate reservations for accommodation and transportation.

Day tour packages from yp.toutokorea.com

Going back to the full day package, this costs around USD 145.00 per person (around PHP 7,000.00). Once done with the reservation, you need to email their customer service so that you can give out details regarding your hotel address or the place where they will pick you up.

Around 4:00 am on the day of our reservation, our tour guide Ms. Shin arrived and picked us up on our hotel. She is very fluent in English so conversations are not a problem. She rented a cab going to a nearby waiting area where we took a bus going to “Sports Complex Station”. From there, we transfer to a different bus going to Yongpyong Ski Resort. Total travel time took 4 hours.

 

Yongpyong Ski Resort

Before 9:00 am we finally arrived at Yongpyong Ski Resort. It is a whooping 0 degrees that day based on the weather board posted in the area. We are also greeted with snow machines spraying artificial snow to make a wonderland ski landscape.

We are greeted with Snow machines covering the area with artificial snows!
Seeing a place covered in ice is indeed a dream come true

 

Dragon Plaza – Yongpyong Ski Resort

We headed to Dragon Plaza Platform, a cabin complex and the main preparation area for the skiers. The place seems like a ghost land when we arrived because only a few group are aboard. This would look better and exciting if more crowd are in there. As per Ms. Shin, the resort is just on its soft opening so this sight were expected and will eventually change during its peak season.

Inside Dragon Plaza. Rentals for outfits, ski and boards are located here

The first place floor of the Dragon Plaza Platform are mainly shops and rentals for ski. The second floor area are mostly restaurants. We decided to get a full set Korean meal for breakfast which costs around WON 11,000.00 (around PHP 500.00). I forgot the name of the soup but this one has beef and creamy hot stew – which is perfect for the cold weather!

Korean meal for breakfast is super YUM

 

Equipment Rentals at Dragon Peak

After a sumptuous breakfast, we headed to the ski outfit changing area at the ground floor of Dragon Plaza Platform (the ski outfit is part of the package). Ms. Shin, our local guide, do all the talking (though I’m not sure if the personnel’s are tourist friendly here). After changing outfits, we left our clothing on the rental area and go ahead with boots, ski and pole area. Boots size guides are available so you might wanna check your size or group first before queuing.

Ski Outfit… Gloves… Boots… Ski and Pole… CHECK! We are now ready to brace this adventure!

But before that, you can leave the rest of  your belongings (like bags) to the locker / baggage rental area. The locker is good for a one time use only – once opened you need to pay another WON 1,000 as rental fee to use it again.

And the ski time begins! If you are beginners like us, ski instructors are highly advisable. Lessons are available at Ski & Snowboard School (inside the Dragon Plaza Platform). Fees may vary per skill level and for foreigners. One of our regret with this experience is not hiring a professional teacher – all because we forgot to bring extra money and we initially thought that the package already includes one. But anyway for 2 persons minimum fee are around WON 105,000.00 (around PHP 5,000.00). For more details of instructor fee, you can check it here.

Snow board and Ski School on the left side and Snow board rental / Lockers on the right side

 

First time Ski Experience

With our do-it-yourself ski lesson, we’re still able to practice basic gliding on own. Also, Ms. Shin taught us as well techniques on how to lay down properly when you’re already out of balance. To be honest we had a brief bad experience here as we went on an area where we are not supposed to go (I’m talking about non-beginner slope here 😛 ).

Happy Kids!
We spent most of the time on the lower part of the slope
If you want to try intermediate level, you can ride a lift going up of the slope

After few hours of struggle, we decided to just stay on the end most part of the slope and play snow angel instead!

We also decided to end our ski and just stay on a café at Tower Plaza – Angel-in-us Coffee. The café served a few items on their menu and are mostly drinks and sweets. What I found amusing about the area is they have a “ski slots” just outside the café premises so you can “park” your snowboards and ski before going inside the café. This will avoid the hassle of bringing your ski’s inside all the time.

 

Dragon Peak – Gondola experience and Korean Drama scenes

After a few hours of chit-chat and rest, Ms. Shin suggests that we should try getting on top of the resort towards the Dragon peak by Gondola and that she will just wait for us at the Dragon Plaza Platform once we’re done. The Dragon peak resort is popular place for Korean Drama – Winter Sonata as parts of the scenes were here. I’ve also recently read from a blog that the Korean Drama Goblin was also taken from here – you can check details from here.

Left picture is the gondola view from Goblin Korean Drama Right picture is our gondola view to Dragon’s Peak
Left: Dragon Peak resort scene from Goblin Korean Drama Right: Me on the Peak resort
Winter Sonata memorabilia in Dragon Peak

This much explains why there are pictures of Winter Sonata in the area when we went there.  The gondola ride aside from the Korean drama locations, also offers a view of Balwangsan Mountain. Fee is WON 15,000 for adult and WON 11,000 for children. Note that gondola operation starts at 8:30 am and will end at 4:00 pm.

We decided to end the day around 3:30 pm, returned all our rentals, meet Ms. Shin and went back to Seoul with this unforgettable experience.

 

Related posts about our 5days-4nights South Korea DIY travel:

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