Korea has a clear four seasons with each of them offering something different for the outdoor enthusiast. As I moved here in the Autumn I thought there was nothing more majestic and naturally beautiful than the colourful crisp leaves and calm breeze that whispered through the trees keeping me company as I hiked through the mountains. The crunching leaves under my feet and the fluttering fresh air filling my lungs was exhilarating, the picturesque view of the country was breathtaking. I thought this simply had to be the best season in Korea for how the county beautifully adapted to the change in weather. That was until autumn came and went and we warmly welcomed in the winter, and the top winter sports in South Korea to go with it.
With that we also welcomed in the mighty cold and strong winds, but along came the beauty and opportunities winter brings with it in Korea. A world I was new to until now, as the frosty mountains grew a thick layer of snow, so too did the slopes open up and the fun started. Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice skating and whatever else you can think of in a snowy, mountainous country. As we leave the first month of winter and just getting “warmed up” as the winter sets in, here are a few of my favourite activities to do in the bitter winter months in Korea.
Although I must admit that my favourite time to do this is still in the autumn, it’s a great activity to do in the colder season and with 70% of the land being mountainous, you don’t have to go very far to witness the beautiful views of Korea from a mountain top. The fresh air, endless raw terrain and wilderness is a therapeutic and invigorating way to get active in the winter months. The fresh air filling your lungs and pushing you as you push yourself on your hike is something freely available and priceless. Go to Korea, and go hiking!
I always love to go ice skating around Christmas time, and in Korea there are ice rinks everywhere, some even all year round. Ice Skating is a favourite amongst locals, and Koreans are notably talented at the sport. Whether you want to go and test out your skating feet, or practice your twist lifts, it’s an invigorating way to get active during the icy winter months – utilise that ice and have some fun.
With ski resorts opening up in November/December and staying open until March, travel to the northern parts of South Korea where the snow is more evident and get yourself a season pass! The price for the slopes in Korea is ridiculously cheap and had I known this before I probably would have made a trip here just for that. It’s a popular pastime in Korea so beware of the boulders on the slopes blocking your way. Go during the week when it’s quieter if you want to avoid the busy times.
My favourite thing to do in the winter! You can haggle with your ski shop and get a season pass for both skiing and snowboarding equipment so that you have the best of both worlds, and keep it interesting. You can get lessons to begin with, or just start off on the beginner slopes and prepare for a bruised behind! There are buses running all over the county that drop you straight to the ski resort for me it gets to Gyeongju at 4 in the morning and we arrive for a full day of boarding by 8 in Jeongseon County.
These are my top 4 winter sports, and although there is plenty more where that came from, my lists are short and sweet. This list keeps me busy and craving the weekend to come so I can get out there and enjoy the winter for what it’s worth in Korea. With the next Winter Olympics based in Korea you can understand how the conditions and land environments are perfect here for the cold months, so take advantage!