2013.02.17 - Skiing

Yongpyeong Ski Resort

The week of the Lunar New Year is a busy time on the Korean highways. Nevertheless we had arranged a trip to the northern part of South Korea, to enjoy the cold weather on the ski slopes of Yongpyeong resort - the site of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games event. Pero and Ivana had arranged a hotel/condominium for us, Zohreh and Kasra would meet us there and Agniezska and Michal we picked up Saturday morning at 5pm. They are not functioning well in the morning (!), so it wasn't a difficult decision to go in our car !

We did the trip in a bit less than 5 hours, including a wrong turn and 10-15 minutes looking for our hotel. With our poor Korean and the Korean's poor map-reading skills, we had to retort to A&M's Korean friend to guide us. He found a map on the hotel's home page and sent us it in a photo - our Apple merchandise couldn't show the webpage as it was flash-based. Well done Apple!

The hotel was nice. Two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living area. The balcony wasn't of much use. We shared with A&M and after settling in we went down to one of the many ski rental shops. They set us up for equipment and lift pass. Funny how the locals make a business out of the lift passes .... I believe that season pass holders get 50% discount on day passes, so they sell these on to other people for a 25% discount. In our case, we had to give the pass back to the guy we bought if from, as he could then sell it (a full day and night pass) again!!

Ready !

Mr. Hang-man himself !

The ski resort of Yongpyeong is huge. It's like a large village with a couple of shopping arcades, water world and ... ski slopes. I headed for these slopes together with A&M while Paula joined Zohreh in the café. Paula was hoping to do some cross-country skiing, but even though there was plenty of snow and a cross-country stadium, there were no tracks and no equipment rental. The slopes were not busy - lunar new year is quality family time for most Koreans, so it is a great time for foreigners to head for the ski slopes. The snow was good and it was nice and sunny. A great day on the snowboard. In the evening we had a semi-Italian dinner, a few beers with Zohreh and Kasra and an early night. It had been a long day.

Some of the lower slopes seen from the gondola

Agniezska and Michal one third of the way to the top.

Exit from the gondola at 1500m altitude. Nice view.

One of the slopes is over 5km long, but not terribly exciting. Nice nature though.

I did reasonably well this year. Last time I boarded it took me 50 and three crashes before I remembered which leg I normally have forward !

Pitstop at A Twosome Place

Map of the slopes. The olympic course will be on the upper right slopes

Highest mountain in the area

Michal and Agniezska

This reminds me of a famous photo from Beijing some years back ....

Guess this will be last run of the day. The hill is open til 2am, but not this slope.

Wave to the paparazzi!

Next morning it was back to the rental shop before hitting the slopes again. This time I was skiing, and it didn't take long time for me to find trouble. It was really windy and so the little powder there was gathered on the sides of the slopes. And for the powder I headed! Skis were not set up for powder, so in the first foot-deep dune I hit the skis came off and I continued straight into a "danger" sign ! No damage to me (initially), but Agniezska got a free giggle! It was only late in the day that I realized that my thumb was sore. Anyway, spent the morning skiing and even made it down the icy moguls before meeting up with Paula for a gondola ride up to the mountain-top restaurant for lunch. Paula is not very fond of gondolas and this was no different. But she made it up and down again without much drama.

At the rental shop

Poor Paula :-(

Ivana and Matti helped pass the time

At the lower slopes

Shortly before my crash

I blame Agniezska, as she kept my phone after taking this photo. So I was was out of balance of course ... missing weight on one side.

In the evening we joined forces in our apartment, trying to get rid of some of all the fruit, beer, wine, candy and snacks we had brought. It was really nice to be away with friends and although we didn't ski all together during the day, especially for Paula it was great to have the company of Zohreh and Ivana.

Apres ski at our place. kasra, Pero, ivana, Zohreh and Paula

Lunch in the mountain top restaurant. Michal, agniezska, Pero, Zohreh, Nika, Klara, Marco, Matti and Paula

I decided to sit the Monday morning out due to my sore thumb. I could have boarded without problem, but I worried about making it worse and thereby have a longer recovery period. It was a petty as the morning was bright and the snow condition great (the wind had died down), but it was also very cold with -20 degrees at 8:30 in the morning. Agniezska sat out with swollen eyes, so Michal was on his own.

Cold-ish !

.... but pretty

After lunch we headed back home again. This was the last national holiday in the lunar new year holiday, so the roads were crowded. I don't understand the psychology ... sometimes we were at a full stop or moving at 15 per hour for half an hour, only to proceed with 130 per hour seconds later. No exits, no apparent reasons for the clear-up. And - of course - no explanation for the total blockage a few minutes later! Long story (trip) cut short: it took us almost 7 hours to return. On the way we passes Annelin and Trygve, who had been vacationing at High1 - another ski resort. Pretty funny to run into them among the 29 million other cars. And amazing that Paula noticed that it was their car from the license plate .... there are a lot of black Hyundai Tucsons in Korea!

That was last weekend. This weekend I went biking, made bread and yogurt, slept in and went to a HAIL concert at Ocean View. The compound band has quite a following and by the looks of it all the compound girls had left their kids at home with their husbands, so the dance floor was full.


... and their groupies.

Dave & Amy - Rock & Roll

Paula and Marlene rocking !

Maya was filming it all - her last HAIL concert this time around. Her pull-out is next weekend. Off to China.

We also went downtown to mend a minor disaster. Paula's ipad had been out flying and didn't land well, so we had to get the screen changed. Not as straight forward as you may think, considering that we went to the Apple store to seek assistance. Sometimes it is hard to love Apple!

Nicola, Brodie, Torrin, Asli, Neria and Marlene at the clubhouse

Ivana's surprise birthday party

Ladies lunch at a Chinese restaurant in the centre. Paula, Jenny, Kelly, Violet and Dawn.