It's Good Luck: The First Snowfall Will Be Followed By Snow FestivalAll the worries of last year are bygones now. Seoseol, the first snow of the new year, is believed by many Koreans to bring good luck. The light snow that fell on the first day of 2001 will surely cheer people up and renew hopes for a prosperous year.
Yongpyong Resort in Kangwon Province is the nation's most popular ski resort. The resort's neighboring area, Pyeongchang-gun, will hold its annual five day event, the Daekwallyeong Snowflake Festival, beginning on Wednesday.
The festival is in its ninth year, and as usual, will be full of interesting activities. The festivities will begin with Manseolje, a ceremony to bring in a good harvest for the year, and a market will be open to sell regional foods and various products.
There will also be many sports events, such as the National Amateur Ski Race, the Children's Sled Race, the National Snow MTB Race for avid mountain bikers and the International Naked Marathon Race. Family activities include the snow sculpture Sowontap (wishing tower) building, snowman contests, traditional Korean sledding and top-spinning.
The marathon event on Jan.14 is already drawing a lot of attention. Male participants, who will run either a 5-kilometer or 10-kilometer course, will be allowed to wear only short pants. Female participants will be allowed to wear short tops as well. Visitors to the festival on Jan. 14 can also watch a snow car race. About 50 professional racers will compete on a 700 meter track.
The special feature at the festival this year is the Igloo Cafe made of 3.5-meter-high and 7-meter-wide igloos where hot coffee and snacks will be served. English and Chinese language guides will be available.
The festival's official Web site (www.happy700.or.kr) has an English section, and on the Web site's Korean section or at the Daekwallyeong Snow Festival Committee (033-336-2555), package tour service and information for foreigners are available although they may need some help from Korean-speaking friends.
by Kim Sae-joon