12/20/2006

Yangji Pine Resort

Skiing has always been a priveleged activity for me to do, as coming from a place like England which has NO ski resorts - maybe the only ski resort in the whole of the UK is in a remote part of Scotland called Abergavenny (spell?) - the expense of a distant trip to the European Alps was always off budget. Every Sunday during my early childhood, I used to watch a program called 'Ski Sunday' which had all the highlights from all the European ski competitions, and used to watch every single turn and angle of the skiers and be so envious of those who could ski like that. I used to hum the TV's theme tune in the school playground and pretend to ski down the hills around my home. I could have killed to have been born in Switzerland or Austria! It was my biggest dream for many years to be able to visit a ski resort. I finally got the chance to go skiing in Australia in 1997, and later, I was a manager in a hotel ski resort in Austria in 1999. Therefore, a chance to go to a ski resort is not something I take for granted.

Yesterday, I went snowboarding at Yangji Pine Resort near Seoul. Pix will have to wait for later, so I'm posting the pic from the Pine Resort homepage. The pictures of Korean ski resorts on the websites always look pretty impressive. In reality, they are okay, but they are not like anything of the size, quality and scenery of the Alps, for example. However, that you can go skiing within an hour of Seoul and all for a day cost of just USD50 all inclusive, the convenience is hard to beat in many parts of the world.

I think my Taekwondo training has served me well, as I woke up this morning without any ache to my legs. I'm impressed. However, my shoulders are sore because I spent much of the day falling down and landing on my arms. I'm not really a fan of snowboarding. I really wanted to ski, but my Korean friend said they would teach me how to snowboard, so I was ready to try it for the first time. As I experienced, it was REALLY HARD. I spent the entire morning crashing to the floor - and as the snow there was all artificial, it's like hitting the floor of an ice rink; no cushioned landing. However, after lunch I tried it again, and all of a sudden I got the hang of it and was going down the entire slope from start to finish without falling over. What a champion! But...I've decided that I don't want to try snowboarding again. Having 2 feet fixed to a heavy board was not a particularly enjoyable feeling. If I go to a ski resort again, I will definitely opt for skiing!

For anyone planning a trip to the Korean ski resorts, try and get a local to help you, since if you try to book everything yourself through the official resort channels, you will be paying at least 2 or 3 times as much as we did. There are some Korean Internet sites of rental stores outside of the resort grounds which can offer everything much more cheaply. We even got free transportation to the resort. These are things I probably never would have found by myself.

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