[Weekender] Ski resorts turning attention to nonskiers
Published : Dec 20, 2018 - 18:10
Updated : Dec 28, 2018 - 21:48
For those who don’t enjoy skiing, annual family ski trips can be quite dull.

But in recent years, ski resorts in South Korea have found an ironic yet new target group -- nonskiers.

Major resorts here are trying to come up with fresh ideas every winter, slowly transitioning into “theme parks,” where everyone can spend quality time.

The Vivaldi Park resort, located about 60 kilometers east of Seoul in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province, has been frequented by locals and tourists for over two decades. With its modest array of slopes and proximity to the capital city, it receives nearly 3.5 million visitors every year. 

Vivaldi Park Resort’s Snowy Land. (Daemyung)

The resort complex owned by Daemyung Group has been at the forefront of transforming into a theme park. It is already equipped with a bowling alley, an arcade, a movie theater, and a mini-amusement park for children.

It set a milestone last winter by launching Snowy Land, a 46,000-square-meter area filled with snowmen and candlelight, atop Maebongsan. It is designed to provide a “winter wonderland” experience incorporating sledding and a Christmas flea market held nearby. Other winter activities, such as ice hockey and curling, are also available, keeping the spirit of the PyeongChang Olympics alive. The Winter Games were held in a nearby town earlier this year.

“We launched Snowy Land last year as a theme park for those who don’t enjoy skiing or snowboarding. Children, and visitors in general can have a magical and quality experience at our resort,” Hwang Myoung-hun, a PR manager for Daemyung Resort told The Korea Herald.

“We received more visitors than we expected along with positive feedback last year from both skiers and nonskiers, so we added more programs this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Hansol Oak Valley Resort, in Wonju, Gangwon, not only boasts breathtaking alpine slopes, but unique art exhibitions as well. Museum San, designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, lies within its perimeters, surrounded by a shallow pool of water known as the Water Garden. 

Concept art for Sonata of Light at the Hansol Oak Valley Resort. (Oak Valley)

Embodying the surrounding nature, the museum is currently running an exhibition called “Meditation in a Landscape,” which includes 14 nature-themed artworks by local artists. It is being held through March 3.

This season, expanding its scope of the arts, the resort plans to incorporate state-of-the-art 3D projection-mapping technology into its woods to create an ethereal walking path. A 1.4-kilometer-long route will be divided into five different concepts, all involving the theme of “nature” and “light.” The path called the Sonata of Light will be opened to visitors on Dec. 24.

In addition, a virtual reality zone will be open for those interested in an adrenaline rush through a visually-driven experience.

Festivals are another way that nonskiers can spend quality time indoors, and High One Resort in Jeongseon, Gangwon, will host a special Christmas concert this year. Korean pop stars, including songstress Baek Ji-young and reggae duo Haha & Skull, are set to perform onstage on Dec. 23 and 24.

Japanese New Age pianist Yuhki Kuramoto is also scheduled to perform at the resort on Jan. 5.

High One will also illuminate this winter with vibrant fireworks every Saturday in December and on Dec. 31, to celebrate the arrival of the new year.

Now with the resorts’ undivided attention, those who had spent time either sulking in their hotel rooms or pitifully catching up on Netflix can enjoy themselves both off and on the snow.

By Jung Min-kyung (