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High 1


The best top-to-bottom resort in Korea, Idyllically located in remote Gangwon-do Province.

In the mountains west of Taebaek, High1 is a modern ski resort that has, arguably, the best snow, the best facilities and the most varied and interesting pisted runs in South Korea. The resort is spread over three peaks overlooking a deep valley, with a large hotel complex at it's base, complete with one of Korea's only casino's....and this is why the locals flock here, gambling themselves in to rapture through the nights.  Quite wonderfully, this renders the ski slopes largely empty through the day - and they really don't seem to know what they are missing. Genuinelly, this is a good ski resort with some of the most serious ski terrain in the country. High 1 is less a golf / water-park / ski all-in-one holiday resort (as is often the case elsewhere in Korea); instead it's a proper ski hill, with proper runs, a decent lift network and good quality, reliable snow cover.

Skiing in High 1

At 1,340m, the resort sees plenty of decent snow across its 18 varied and genuinelly interesting slopes. It is a rather spread out affairm with three base areas, our favourite of being the remote High1 Hotel, located down one side of the mountain with its own dedicated gondola direct to the top. The main base areas are down at Mountain House, which is a purpose-built complex above the town of coal-mining town of Sabuk, and lower down at Valley House; the Valley Gondola connecting these two bases.

There are three 8-person gondolas, and then seven modern, high-volume chair lifts, and just the one T-bar...and there you go -  the best-maintained, most efficient lift system in Korea. The various top-to-bottom routes cling to the ridges and then funnelling in to the valley at various points, with the easier green runs dropping in early and some of the more challenging blacks saving it for later.  It really is a good fun, a natural ski bowl with some interesting terrain of wildly varying pitch.

They also do a good job with their freestyle; the park isn’t quite as impressive as the more specialist setups elswehere in Korea, but High1 is otherwise the best freestyle hill you’ll find in Korea.

Off Piste

It simply doesn't happen in Korea. You stay on the pistes, with the trees behind  impenetrable fences.

Advanced

There is more in High 1 then elsewhere in Korea. Now...that's offers you no challenge comparable to what's on offer in next door Japan, but the runs under the Victoria Lift and then, on the opposite side of the valley, dropping down from the Mountain Hub are steep, sometimes mogulled and - on the latter - complete with a natural half-pipe. 

Intermediate

A really pleasant winter playground awaits - get yourself up to Mountain Top and then any route down to Mountain House or, further still, Valley Gondola is enjoyable. Pick up the speed, feel your edges and carve until your heart's desire.

Beginners

The Valley Course, the longest run at 4.2 km with a 645m altitude drop, is straight, easy, wide and its inclination is low. Thus, ithe perfect beginners run from top to bottom.

Snowboarders

The locals seemingly prefer snowboarding, so you won't feel odd. No flat sections of note to worry about, though it does get rather shallow on the valley floor.

Après Ski

Drop down from the Mountain House, a short shuttle ride, and then you find yourself in 'Kangwonland' - a massive hotel, conventional hall and casino complex. Here, restaurants abound, there is even a nightclub, cigar bar and a new water-park going up. This is where nightlife, Korean-style, peaks which involves a delightful Korean feast (though there are Italian and Japanese restaurants also), a bit of karaoke and then pulling an all-nighter in the casino.

However, we prefer to place our guests in the quieter, more sedate environment of the High 1 hotel, which affords easier access to the slopes (that's why you are here, after all!). This hotel is utterly remote, well away from the thrills of Kangwonland, so quieter evenings revolve around the 'High Land' restaurant (pretty decent Chinese and Korean food), and also the hotel's pleasant bar & lounge area. 

Family Suitability

A good place to be - the slopes offer nothing to fear, the hotels are child-friendly and the Korean's love kids! 

RESORT SCORECARD

Snowsure:  

Beginners:  

Intermediate:  

Advanced:  

Snowboarders:  

Après Ski:  

Families:  

Season:  late December through to end March

Base elevation:  700 metres

Top elevation:  1,345 metres

Vertical drop:  645 metres

Number of lifts:  10

Number of runs:  18

Longest run:  4.2 km

Access:  High 1 is in a reasonably remote location, about three hours from Seoul, and then that little bit further still from Incheon airport. However, there are direct coaches throughout the season to Sabuk, the local town. And from here it is only a short hop up to the resort itself.

Suggested Itineraries featuring High 1

The best of Japan & Korea

Japan & South Korea

Duration: two weeks

The ultimate Asian skiing odyssey! With three days skiing in South Korea and five days skiing in the resort of your choice in Japan, this itinerary also includes time in both Seoul and Tokyo. 

from £2,180 per person (including international flights from the UK)

Read More

The Korean Ski Safari

High 1 - YongPyong (PyeongChang) - Seoul

Duration: 11 days

South Korea's two best ski resorts are combined in one itinerary, followed by a ride on the futuristic KTX train back to the exciting capital for a couple of days R&R before heading home.

from £925 per person (not including your international flights)

Read More

Prices are indicative only and include accommodation (low season), lift passes, transfers and – because we are ATOL-bonded – your flights from the UK. Different Snow can also include ski hire, backcountry and off-piste tours, rail passes, private transfers, English-speaking guides, cultural excursions and activities.

Accommodation

As far as we are concerned there are two choices; you stay in the remote High 1 Hotel, linked to the ski mountain by it's own cable car, or you stay further down the valley in the conference centre / casino / shopping mall mega-plex area with the Korean masses (here you'll find the Disney-like Kangwonland Hotel and the it says what it is on the tin Convention Hotel).  With the latter you get a choice of restaurants, plenty of facilities and spacious, comfortable rooms in massive tower-block hotels and with the former you have a more peaceful, refined experience with direct access to the slopes.

No prizes for guessing which one we prefer.

High 1 Hotel

Out on a limb, remote in the mountains, with it's own dedicated gondola linking the hotel to the ski valley.

Okay...so it is not ski-in, ski-out. But the High 1 Hotel is the next best thing, linked as it is to the ski area by it's own gondola - servicing only hotel guests - which takes you directly to the top of the mountain. 

The hotel itself is pleasant, without being outstanding. The rooms are functional, though spacious, and the public areas blandly comfortable. The 'High Land' restaurant serves both Korean and Chinese dishes and you'll then find a lounge / bar and bakery within the hotel. And - truth be told - is about it. All told, a perfectlyacceptable base from which to ski the resort, no more, no less.

Activities

Ski Concierge

It's hard to go wrong in High 1 - the lift pass is goo dvalue, the pistes well-maintened and food / retail / rental outlets are conveniently located at all three base areas.

The South Korean's love to ski at night, with flood lights operating on most slopes until 2am during peak season.

Lift Passes

A non-Korean passport affords you a huge discount on the lift pass, making this ski resort wonderful value for us foreigners. Their lift tickets follow the typical system in Korea, with the operating hours split into day & night by a 2-hour snow grooming break at 4pm; the daytime hours are subdivided into AM and PM. You can get a ticket for AM, PM, or Night, or a combination of the above. They have a very handy ticket option of Night (18:00 – 22:00) and morning (8:30 – 12:00) the following day. This is very useful if you want to hit High1 from Seoul and only have 2 days, as you can travel on the first day and ski in the evening, then ski again in the morning before travelling back. The other good news - their automatic sensor system requires no lift-ticket to be displayed. Just keep it in your pocket.

Equipment Hire

This can be the problem. Option 1 - bring your own skis & boots, even if it just rental kit from YongPyong, where they have better equipment for hire. Option 2 - we hire locally, but we may struggle if you want either high performace skis with edges, longer skis (max length 168cm is what I could find), latest model kit (not a chance!) or (most worrying) anything other than those rear-loading boots (awful, but strangely favoured in Korea).

A possible solution is to avoid the 'official' rental outlets from the hotel and head out of resort towards the twon of Sabuk and, we hear, some of theprivate rental shops that line the road have better equipment available. 

Lessons

There is a ski school - but it is very much focussed on Koreans and frinding an English-speaking instructor is difficult, neigh on impossible.

Travel Insurance

Winter sports travel insurance is an important part of your holiday booking and we strongly recommend that you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover all your winter sports holiday requirements. We're happy to be able to offer our customers a 10% discount on all policies from Ski Club Travel Insurance.

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