I have returned safely from my holiday with no broken bones or other damage, so it's time for some pictures and the details.
In spite of having lived in Switzerland for six years I have only ever been snowboarding twice and until now I had never skied. I had taken snowboarding lessons on both previous occasions so this time I felt I could do without.
It took me quite a long time to get used to being on a snowboard again, but by the fourth day I could 'board down the Rainbow Paradise run with a certain amount of skill, but not much style. It's a 5km slope, rated intermediate, which starts from the highest peak at the resort reached by the (Swiss-made) gondola and we managed it seven times during the last day with a stop at the top for a Starbucks coffee at lunchtime.
Father and Son Crowards, already good skiers, eschewed snowboarding lessons and having boned up on the 10 steps to Snowboarding were soon comfortable on the boards. Which was good because private lessons would have been 170,000 Won per person for two hours. No group lessons in English!
I tried skiing for a brief time one afternoon and I succeeded in going down the beginners slope a couple of times without too many problems, but my thighs were already starting to ache badly and queues for the lifts to the nursery slopes were very long. The advantage of going on the more advanced slopes was that there were almost no queues.
Ski and Snowboard hire were well managed by the staff and the equipment was good quality and in good condition. It might have saved some time to be able to hire the equipment once for the whole five days at the start, but this did not seem to be possible, so each morning after a huge breakfast, we would hire the kit and pay for the lift pass. I am sure if you stay in the town below the resort there are shops that will allow multi day hire. Season tickets are available for the lifts if you are skiing there every weekend. All the staff were friendly and could speak enough English to be able to do their job. These are the options for lift passes and rental:
The weather was kind to us all week. Even though there was very little real snow the snow machines were working all night every night and the pistes were well groomed each morning and afternoon. It was snowing quite heavily when we left on the Saturday and we were very glad we were not on the slopes that morning before we left.
In spite of the thousands of children having skiing lessons, the resort did not seem too crowded, however queues for the lifts and in the cheap canteen dining room were very long at certain times of the day. The quietest time was first thing in the morning after the lifts started at 08:30. Here's a general view of the resort :
and looking the other direction from the same place in the evening:
I discovered ski clothing was available to hire but at 60,000 Won for a jacket and trousers for three days, I was very glad I had bought a pair of Salopettes from a street vendor for 10,000 Won before getting there. Helmet hire is also available for 3,000 won per day.
There are other facilities at the resort including a very good swimming pool and sauna that I took advantage of and a Karaoke bar which provided us with great entertainment. The bar was deserted, but the barman led us to a private room where we stayed for several hours with a couple of drinks, belting out some old favourites. We enjoyed it so much we went back a second night.
The bus trip back was more straightforward than the outward journey, though the final stop by the roadside, with no subway or bus stops nearby, was slightly weird. Someone told us it was supposed to be going to Sadang, but when the bus driver indicated, in no uncertain terms, that we would be disembarking , we were nowhere near Sadang. Luckily it was not a long taxi ride back to Yeouido.
The region PyeongChang, has just put in a bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics and if they win you will no doubt be hearing a great deal more about this area. Fingers crossed for decision day on July 4th this year when the International Olympic Committee chooses between Korea, Salzburg in Austria and Sochi in Russia.