December in Korea means icy cold winters, a white Christmas and of course, the opportunity to ski or snowboard at one of the many resorts in the country. And so I headed to Oak Valley Ski Resort to test out their slopes in an attempt to improve my somewhat amateur skiing ability.
About Oak Valley Ski Resort, Korea
Oak Valley is one of the closest ski resorts to Seoul, lying only 100km from the capital city. The short 90-min drive means it’s easily accessible and hence many people make their way here for a day tour.
If you’re looking for a ski park closer to Seoul, I highly recommend Bears Town! It’s my favourite place to ski in Korea. You can find out more about skiing at Bears Town here.
After spending a day skiing at the popular Vivaldi Ski Park, I was pleased to find that Oak Valley is a far less commercial ski resort. It has a relaxed atmosphere, with many families visiting the park to enjoy a day on the slopes. The resort is foreigner friendly with all signage being in both Korean and English.
Oak Valley Ski Park
The resort prides itself on being a premium ski park for the whole family. With wide slopes that have a gentle incline, it attracts many beginners who are eager to learn and improve on their skiing.
3 ski lifts lead to 2 beginner, 5 intermediate, and 2 advanced courses, with the longest slope being 1.6km. Check out the details of the slopes here.
The Ski Slopes
Unfortunately, you won’t find many long ski slopes in Korea when compared to the likes of Europe.
High1 is the biggest ski park in Korea so check out this post if you’re looking for longer slopes.
The beginner slope at Oak Valley Ski Resort is wide and long, offering more space for beginners to practice. There was often a queue for the beginner ski lift but it was no longer than a 5-minute wait.
The intermediate slopes are, well, scary at first, but less crowded and offer a nice long run. The snow was icy in areas, but fluffy and soft in others. The queues for the intermediate/advanced ski lifts were very short, and I didn’t have to wait to grab a spot on one of them.
Ski Equipment, Gear Rental, And Facilities
Oak Valley Ski Resort lives up to the high standards of Korean ski parks, with top-class facilities, ski courses and many restaurants around the resort. As with all Korean ski parks, don’t expect a nice cosy bar with a fire going in the corner. The restaurants are simple and offer a quick stop to carbo-load before hitting the slopes again.
There are many ski shops en route to the ski park which offer equipment and clothing for rental at a reduced rate compared to renting these at the resort. There is also a ski shop at Oak Valley where you can purchase gloves, goggles, beanies and everything you need to ensure you stay warm and comfortable on the slopes.
Lockers are available and will cost you 1 000 won for the day rental.
How to Get to Oak Valley Ski Resort From Seoul
Oak Valley Ski Resort is a 90 minute drive east of Seoul. A free shuttle service is operated by the resort. You can find out more information here.
Alternatively, you can book a ski package with a tour company and they’ll provide transportation for you.
Oak Valley Ski Prices
When booking directly with Oak Valley Ski Resort, a full day lift pass will cost you 76 000 won ($70). After you have purchased this you will need to hire your clothing, 24 000 won ($20), and ski/snowboard gear, 34 000 won ($30). A total of 134 000 won ($125) for a day in the snow.
Oak Valley Ski Resort: Package Costs
For foreigners, the easiest way to go skiing in Korea is to book a ski package through tour companies such as Trazy or Klook. They offer great deals and ski packages for foreigners which saves you the hassle of trying to find your way around an unfamiliar resort.
Oak Valley ski packages cost around 94 600 won ($86) for a day tour which includes your gear, clothing and lift pass, as well as transportation from Seoul to Oak Valley.
The buses leave from Myeongdong at 07:30 and you will arrive back in Seoul by 18:30.
My Overall Impressions
I preferred Oak Valley to Vivaldi Ski Park. Did I mention that I don’t like crowds? And me skiing down a mountain filled with novice snowboarders and 4-year-olds learning to ski is a recipe for disaster! But I may have been lucky as I chose to visit Oak Valley on a Sunday, which was probably the reason for the uncrowded slopes.
As with other ski resorts in Korea, the ski park at Oak Valley isn’t a great as those in the US or Europe, but it’s close to Seoul and makes for a great day out!
Practical Information about visiting Bears Town
- Costs: $80-$100 for a day tour
- Distance from Seoul: 1.5 hour drive
- Time needed: Full day
- Best time to go: During the week, or Sunday, when it’s less busy
- A Day At Bears Town Ski Resort In Korea
- Vivaldi Ski Park in Korea: A Day on The Slopes
- High1 Ski Resort: A Complete Guide
- Things To Do In Jeju: 5 Day Itinerary
- 24 Strange Things About Life in Korea