This weekend I joined Adventure Korea’s ski trip to Pheonix Park, a ski resort which will help host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Everything was set up by Adventure Korea, all I had to do was pay and show up at the bus in Hongdae at 7:30 Saturday morning. We made a quick stop at the Express Bus Station to pick up a few more foreigners and were on the way.
A few rest stops and 3 hours later we were at the equipment rental and had numbered bags with our sized boots. Unfortunately mine didn’t fit. I tried a second pair but it was still a little loose in the ankle. The language barrier made that hard to convey but we were able to tighten them all the way up. I realized I was only going skiing for 4 hours so resolved to deal with it.
The bad news was it started raining. At first it was just a light drizzle but then it started coming down in buckets. We glanced around the bus and I tried to stay positive. Rain at the bottom could mean snow on the mountain!
I slept most of the ride here so when we finally arrived at Pheonix Park I introduced myself to everyone else. There were a lot of beginner skiers and boarders here but I managed to find Matt and Robert, two expert skiers. We went straight for the gondola while the rest of our group opted for a beginner lesson.
The rain was still pouring down which made us enjoy the confines of our gondola even more. We did some basic introductions; all 3 of us were teachers but Robert was the only one who wasn’t in his first year. He had some basic Korean knowledge and struck up a small conversation with the snowboarders sharing our ride.
The windows of our gondola were foggy and covered in moisture making it tough to tell whether it was snowing or raining as we reached the summit. Putting our ski’s on and fastening the last of our zippers we stepped into a massive fog. There was a light snow coming down!
We stopped at the map before deciding to start 발리코스 (Valley Course,) with an intermediate blue square. It started out steep with zero viability in the fog. The good news was we had a thin layer of fresh powder! I started out slow, its been a few years since I’ve been on the slopes and I zigzagged most of the way down cutting horizontally across the white road to ease my acceleration.
As we came below the cloud line the course leveled off and I gained a little more confidence without the steep drop. Catching up to Matt and Robert we took a quick photo before zooming down the mountain. On the way down I noticed the snow had turned back to rain.