Thinking of a resort to ski or snowboard at this winter? I recently went to Elysian in South Korea with my girlfriend. We had a great time there, but as always we realized some things that could have made things easier on our end and with what was offered. I’ll give you the run down so you can be better prepared using what we learned!
We booked through the company Trazy, which arranges events and activities for travelers around Asia. No matter what company you book through, they will charge you a fee for transportation and equipment which includes snow pants, a jacket, boots, and skis or a snowboard. For first time skiers and snowboarders, I would recommend the types of packages through that offer some lessons at an additional cost so that you can get started with some understanding. Unless you are an intermediate to expert skier or snowboarder, I recommend doing a two day trip if it is your first time because you may only start getting the hang of stopping, turning, and speeding up by the end of your first day.
The bus makes its rounds to Hongdae, Myeongdong, and Dongdaemun. Our meeting point was in Hongdae, so we decided to book a hotel room nearby the night before so that we would be able to make the early bus meet up time at 7am. While there are cheap hostels, I didn’t want to share a room or a bunk with other people because it’s my birth month and I wanted us to treat ourselves. If you are traveling with friends, then go for the hostels to make your stays a bit cheaper. We booked a room at the Nabi Hotel (Butterfly Hotel) so, when we got off of work, we took the subway to Hongdae and had some of our favorite ramen that’s in the area.
The bus left around 7:20 am and it took about two and a half hours to get to Elysian. There was a helpful tour guide with the company Korea Days. She was a university student and she could speak English quite well. She explained that the tour bus would be giving the directions in Mandarin and Cantonese. While I don’t mind listening to other languages, some of the other guides had trouble explaining how to do things or where to go. Look up the resort you are thinking about going to and try to see if there is a map of where the ticket counter is, rental areas are, cafeteria, ski lift, and bus loading areas. This way you will be able to navigate freely without needing much translation.
Upon arrival to the mountain, we went to an equipment store that was partnered with the tour company. Since my girlfriend and I were staying for two days, we had to rent out goggles. The company said it was ₩10,000 a pair, but they didn’t say it would be per day. We ended up paying ₩40,000 for the both of us. If you are looking to go on multiple trips I would suggest buying a pair of cheap goggles and gloves because they will charge you an unnecessary amount extra. It’s not necessary to get a helmet if you are skiing and a beginner because you will find that you have more control when stopping than with a snowboard. If you are beginner and you are trying to snowboard, it might be good for you to wear one because if you fall with your board in the horizontal position while going down the mountain, you could end up hitting yourself in the head with your board. I’ve done that in the past. It’s not fun and it’s scary.
Anyway, as we got back on the bus we were headed toward the resort. There was some confusion about where to get our gear and the tour guides were giving us different instructions. For future trips, I would recommend calling the resort and speak to a representative figure out logistics no matter where you go. If you have issues and they aren’t able to speak in English try to get a friend who could do it for you and explain it to you. I say this because most of the other tourists preferred to get skis. The other tour guides tried to rent out skis with them even though we told them we were going to snowboard.
Once we sorted out the snowboarding gear confusion and got situated, things got much better. An eight hour lift pass is ₩10,000 through @trazy and @koreadays.kr. There were several items that were not mentioned on the website and my girlfriend and I were surprised that googles, lift tickets, and dinner options were not included because they were listed on the website. Since coming back from the trip, the company has updated their page to reflect a more accurate list of what is included and what is offered for additional costs. These additional costs include some clothing, equipment, and dinner options. The dinner options were kind of steep at ₩20,000 per person for Pork or Chicken BBQ, so try to bring snacks with you or ask if the pension driver can drive you to the market for a five minute stop. This is a good idea to pick up water, alcohol, snacks, and quick small breakfast items for the following morning.
I wasn’t happy that the equipment store only took cash to rent out the goggles. If you live in Korea and you plan on going on ski trips often, I suggest that you buy your own gloves and googles because their rental prices are steep. Overall I had an amazing time and suggest going to Elysian at least once because it is a good place to learn how to ski or snowboard. I’m looking forward to going to another resort in the future, so stay tuned and Happy Holidays!