Going on the piste

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Going on the piste

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[JoongAng Ilbo]


It’s time to choose your winter sport. Are you a snazzy skier or a super snowboarder?

The mountain slopes in Gangwon Province are already covered with glittering snow. In fact, this year, ski resorts expect so much snow that they won’t need to use a snow machine.

This season, the different ski resorts are offering a huge variety of packages and discounts for winter visitors. And knowledge is power, so it’s best to do your homework before you head for the slopes.

Many resorts have changed their layouts and are offering special discounts of up to 50 percent. Some of them also have water parks.

So don’t hibernate at home - get out there today!

SPECIAL RATES

People will call you a fool if you pay full price at a ski resort.

Major resorts are offering competitively discounted packages. If you are diligent enough to do a little digging around for good bargains, you’ll definitely find a good deal.

Check if your credit card provider has any offers. Most ski resorts have agreed deals with credit card companies.

By paying with your credit card, you can receive discounts of up to 40 percent on ski passes and equipment rental.

You can also benefit from using subsidiary facilities such as the condominium, hotel, swimming pool and sauna.

Visit each resort’s Web site for information on card discounts.

Phoenix Park in Gangwon, which is a two-hour drive from Seoul, offers a 40 percent discount if you pay with a Woori V card and a 35 percent discount with BC, Samsung and Lotte cards.

Gangchon Resort offers a 30 percent discount if you pay with a Shinhan or Lotte card. Holders of the Shinhan Lady card are entitled to free chair-lift rides every Wednesday.

There are other promotions, too.

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If you purchase a 2008-2009 season ticket, which costs 280,000 won ($206.159), Oak Valley resort offers you a free yearly pass to Lotte World in Seoul, worth 100,000 won.

The 55,000 won package at Muju Resort includes a round-trip bus ticket and a weekday lift ticket.

Phoenix Park offers transportation, a weekday lift ticket, ski insurance and gear rental for 50,000 won.

Hyundai Sungwoo resort is offering an overnight stay and two lift tickets for between 120,000 won and 280,000 won.


FACELIFTS

All the resorts have been giving themselves a new look.

Muju Resort has opened four new slopes, which served as the venue for the 1997 winter Universiad.

The slopes are 1,520 meters (4,987 feet) above sea level. The steepest slope is 32 degrees.

Daemyung Vivaldi Park has a slope for children - 200 meters high and 20 meters wide.

Phoenix Park has turned one of its hills into a sledding slope.

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WATER PARKS

Water activities are no longer limited to the summer.

Taking a leaf from the opening of Ocean World at Daemyung Vivaldi Park in 2006, Phoenix Park launched its Blue Canyon and Yongpyong Resort its Peak Island, both last summer.

Next year, High 1 Resort will feature its own water park too.

Ocean World in Vivaldi Park is currently the biggest, with both indoor and outdoor zones, although only the indoor zone is open in winter.

Blue Canyon, the indoor water park in Phoenix Park spans 11,800 square meters (127,014 square feet) and has several pools.

Blue Canyon is recommended for families with kids.

Onboard for a thrilling ride

The younger crowd today prefers snowboarding because of its dynamic moves.

Although snowboarding doesn’t generate as much speed as skiing, the excitement you get when you’re making those snowboard turns can make you tingle.

But safety is paramount. Protective gear such as helmets and goggles are a must. Otherwise, injuries are inevitable.

The more you know about snowboarding, the more amusing the ride will be.

If you’re not familiar with safety precautions, protection or the moves, check out our quick and easy guide to snowboarding basics before you hit the slopes.


New resorts

Konjiam Resort in Gwangju, Gyeonggi, opens next Friday.

There are 11 slopes at its 1-million-square-meter ground. Each slope is 100 meters wide on average, suitable for beginners and children.

Four of the 11 slopes have been officially approved by the International Ski Federation, including its Super Pipe.

The ski resort is restricting skiers to 7,000 a day, excluding those with memberships.

It also has a condominium with 476 rooms, a wine cellar with up to 90,000 bottles, a 160,000-square-meter tree garden and a spa.

Konjiam Resort is a 40-minute drive from southern Seoul.

For more information, call (031) 8026-5000 or visit www.konjiamresort.co.kr.

O2 Resort in Taebaek, Gangwon Province, opens today. The 16 slopes split from the peak of Mount Hambaek, 1,420 meters above sea level.

The different slopes are connected once you ski down the slope - families or friends with different skiing levels can meet at the base and go up together again. There is also a 3.2 kilometer long slope for beginners.

For more information, call (033) 580-7000 or visit www.O2resort.com.



Other resorts

Pheonix Park, Pyeongchang, Gangwon: (02) 1577-0069, www.phoenixpark.co.kr

Gangchon Resort, Chuncheon, Gangwon: (033) 260-2000, www.gangchonresort.co.kr

Oak Valley, Wonju, Gangwon: (033) 730-3500, www.oakvalley.co.kr

Muju Resort, Muju, North Jeolla: (063) 322-9000, www.mujuresort.com

Hyundai Sungwoo Resort, Hoengseong, Gangwon: (033) 340-3000, www.hdsungwoo.co.kr

Daemyung Vivaldi Park, Hongcheon, Gangwon: (02) 1588-4888, www.daemyungresort.com

Yongpyong Resort, Pyeongchang, Gangwon: (033) 335-5757, www.yongpyong.co.kr


By Park Sang-un JoongAng Ilbo [angie@joongang.co.kr]
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