Korea got a nice dumping of snow on Saturday. So early Sunday morning, the Two Crabs and an FSO friend hit the slopes, this time at Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang county, South Korea. It seemed a fitting location this week, as Phoenix Park will be the site of the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events at the 2018 Winter Olympics!
Quick recap on Phoenix Park: It's about half the size of Yeongpyeong - Korea's largest ski resort that will serve as the main venue for the 2018 Winter Olympic events. The runs aren't as long, and there are only a few short "expert" slopes. Phoenix is in the Olympic spirit, sporting a huge LED Olympic "torch" outside the resort entrance.
Architectually, Phoenix Park may not be much to look at, but it has a little more character. There's a ski village on the road to the slopes with "minbaks" (basic B&Bs), ski shops and restaurants. The prices are cheaper than purpose-built Yeongpyeong and it's 30 minutes closer to Seoul. There's even a couple of mid-slope restaurants. Interestingly, it seemed like 80%+ visitors to Phoenix Park were snowboarders, whereas Yeongpyeong was about 50/50 skiers vs. boarders. Not surprising since Phoenix has a huge freestyle park with half-pipe.
Tip: You can get a 25% discount simply by asking. We paid $45 for a 5-hour lift ticket...with 25% discount. I'm told diplomats and U.S. Forces Korea military personnel & dependents can get up to 40% discount, but your results may vary.
Some more scenes from Phoenix Park:
Don't Drink & Ski!?!? So why do many of the restaurants serve 1.5L-sized beers?
Typical Apres Ski fare: Bulgogi beef with rice, pork cutlet with gravy, and side dishes of kimchi, radishes, miso soup, plus Cass Korean beer! Incidentally, just like Yeongpyeong, Koreans at Phoenix Park still have not discovered the pleasure of "Apres Ski". At every stop, Americans and Europeans were the only people drinking beer.
Above, slopes can get quite crowded, especially after lunchtime. But if you're a good skier, stick to the intermediate and expert slopes, which are practically empty even on the most busy days!
Nothing says skiing like Dunkin Donuts!
A strange site at most Korean ski resorts: pressure air hoses to blow the snow off your skies & boards!
Phoenix Park: brought to you by Mini Cooper. Even the gondolas look like Minis!