The problem with snowboarding, at least in Korea, is that as much as we’d love to go every weekend, there’s hardly ever enough snow in December (plus it’s always so busy over the holidays), it’s usually unbearably cold in January, and by March it’s getting to be too warm once again. That leaves a very small window for snowboarding – essentially the month of February – which is when everyone else also wants to hit the slopes. Which is why we chose to snowboard at High 1 Resort on a Monday, even if it meant a seven hour round trip drive and even if it meant that not all of the lifts were open. Plus, snowboarding on a Monday had one huge advantage: there was hardly anyone else there.
“All things are possible with God.” And toast.
And now for a video, which for some reason adopted a strange pinkish cast when I exported it to Vimeo. I was too lazy to tinker with it. Good enough.
We had hoped to snowboard in Japan this winter, something high on our “things to do while living in Asia” list, but because of a last-minute work trip, we weren’t able to make the dates work. Instead, we drove up to High 1 Resort for a half day, snowboarded like maniacs, took a 15 minute break to eat a toast sandwich (also with religious messaging) and then turned around and drove back home.
There wasn’t a ton of snow but at least it wasn’t icy, and what snow was on the slopes was still quite fun to carve. I think what most surprised us was how long the runs were, or I should say, how long the one run we chose, was. Since we only bought a half-day pass, we chose the lift/course with the longest intermediate run with options to veer off onto some advanced courses. We wanted to cram in as many runs as we could in the amount of time we had so we decided to stick to the same chair lift and same course. For about three straight hours all we did was get on the lift, race down the mountain, and repeat. There were no lines at all, and, except for a few ski school groups, hardly any other people on the mountain.
After snowboarding nonstop for nearly three solid hours, I caught my edge in an attempt to avoid colliding with a clueless ski school skier who stopped haphazardly in front of me. I flipped over the front of my board and landed in such a way that knocked all the wind out of me and made it feel as if my internal organs had been reorganized inside of my body. It took me a while to catch my breath, focus my thoughts, and get back up and down one of the steepest parts of the course. It was the only time I fell the entire day, but a fall like that always takes its toll.
We had been going at it pretty hard, perhaps too hard for these two old bodies, so Sly insisted we take a break, eat a sandwich, and catch our breath. It was a beautiful sunny winter day, and it was good to sit down and enjoy it for what it was, even if that meant less time on the mountain.
We were back on the lift after our late lunch, energized, and pounding out as many runs as we could fit into what little time we had left. Lift. Ride. Repeat. Lift. Ride. Repeat. That was the rhythm of our day, cold wind in our faces, and a brilliant winter sun beaming down on us, rushing by trees and mountains and then doing it all over again. As much as possible.
We didn’t stop again until they closed the lifts.
High 1 Resort | LOCATION: Gangwon Province (same province/area where the 2018 Olympics will be held!) | COST: $60-$75 but major discounts if you’re a foreigner (50% off) or use an affiliated credit card (30% off) | DESCRIPTION: If you are a foreigner, you’re in luck. Go to the main office near the Mountain Condo. On the outside you’ll see the ticket booths, but before buying tickets, head inside the building where you can find the lockers, rentals, etc. Once inside, to your immediate left is a booth that says “Tourist Information” (or something similar). Go here and ask for the High 1 resort card. It’s FREE. All you have to do is provide your passport, fill out a form, and have your photo taken. Once you get your card, go back out to the ticket booth and purchase your 1/2 priced tickets! Yeah! You can also get a season pass, which, if you plan on going a lot, is also a really good deal. High 1 would be a really good place to learn to ski or snowboard as there are many easy slopes. There are also a good number of advanced slopes, though we tend to find those cater more to skiers (moguls) than snowboarders. Given our time constraints, we didn’t get a chance to explore too much of the mountain, but we rode down “AT2,” an intermediate run, about a million times and thought it to be really fun, and surprisingly quite long. It wasn’t very difficult, but it was still challenging enough to keep things interesting. Also, the track was really wide, which I always like, especially when there are beginners slowly picking their way through the slope. In terms of facilities, High 1 has everything you would expect from a ski resort: lodging, food, equipment rental, etc. Something to keep in mind: parking near the lifts/ticket booth is really limited. You can find parking in the main parking lot area right after you enter the resort gates, but you will have to use the free shuttle to go the rest of the way. | VERDICT: We really loved High 1 and if we had to choose, we both preferred it over Welli Hilli Park Ski Resort, which is the only other place we have boarded (so far) while in Korea. Great deal, beautiful location, and really fun runs. Totally recommended.