Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Skiing in Pyeongchang

The Ski Season in Phoenix Park officially ended last weekend.  As a result, there were some pretty good deals to be hand.  A company called Adventure Korea was offering transport to and from Seoul, accommodation just off piste, lift pass and equipment rental all for 70,000won (about50euro).  Although it hasn't snowed all that much this winter, Pyeongchang, the area where Phoenix Park is, is due to host the Winter Olympics in 2018 so we figured the snow'd have to be half decent!  We booked the KTX, or fast train, for Friday night at 10, thinking we'd be up to Seoul by 11, find somewhere to stay and then meet up with the group the next morning.

Pyeongchang as seen from a cable car

We'd had a bit of a rough day in work, Fridays in general are never that nice, so when the train came and there was someone in one of our seats we weren't too shy about waking him up and telling him to clear off.  We caused a bit of a commotion, and the man didn't budge.  A ticket inspecter came along though so we thought he'd sort the eejit out for us.  Turns out, we were the eejits.  We were on the wrong train!  It was still going to Seoul though, just going there a bit slower, so it was almost midnight when we arrived, without a notion of where we might stay.  We had planned to stay in a jjimjilbang, but neither of us having been to one yet, we decided that we'd try and find a cheap love motel instead.  We found one without too much hassle and just as I sat down on the bed I realised that I hadn't a notion as to where we were meant to be meeting the group the next morning!  I had to ring a friend in Daejeon to get her to look it up.  With panic number two over I was out like a light.

I'd set the alarm before going to sleep but got woken by a text message.  Who the hell is texting me before half six in the morning I wondered.  The answer was nobody.  It wasn't half six.  It was ten past eight.  Forty mins AFTER the meeting time.  I had somehow managed to set the alarm for 8:45.  Brilliant!  Panic number three!  I've never seen either of us get up and dressed and out the door so quickly!  We jumped a taxi to the bus station and bought a ticket to Pyeongchang, then belted across the road to a PC Bang (internet cafe) to look up the phone number of the guy we were meant to meet and tell him we were chasing them!  Got it, legged it back to the bus station with about 5 minutes to spare and finally let out a massive sigh of relief!

After a particularly wobbly start, everything else went as smoothly as you'd hope for.  We arrived, met the guy, dumped our stuff in our room, got our pass and gear and jumped into a cable car.  The day had been pretty overcast up to that point, it even tried to snow a few times but as we got to the top of the mountain the sun came out.  It was so nice to be back in the mountains on a pair of skis.  I really want to do another ski season, being there just gave me the thirst for blood!

The view from the top

Acting the eejit

Nick stylin' it

The lift passes are structured in a slightly odd way.  There are morning ones, afternoon ones, and two night time ones.  Ours went from 12:30pm to 4:30pm and from 6:00pm to 11:00pm but there was another one you could get from 11:00pm to 02:00am.  I couldn't believe the number of headbangers out on the slopes 'til that time.  I suppose if you do work like a lunatic and that's the only chance you get to hit the slopes you would, still seems a bit crazy to me though.
Night Skiing

This should read 'Play Hard, Drink Hard, Smoke Hard, but only after you've worked hard too'!
The slopes were dominated by boarders.  There were very few skiers to be seen.  And the get up on the lot of them was crazy.  Ski slopes can be fashion shows at the best of times but this was something else.  Everything was brand new and all designer.  They seemed to treat their boards quite carelessly, and it seems on purpose.  There's an overwhelming sense of being 'too cool for school' about the place.  Although I suppose if you work like a lunatic, splashing out on new snowboarding kit probably seems like a very worthwhile expense.
Nick desperating searching through his phrase book to chat up one such boarder!

Anyway...got on the slopes and got back into the swing of things fairly quickly.  Had a brilliant day despite my boots being the smallest, most uncomfortable pair in the world and my ski's never having been edged or waxed!  Filled up on a load of sundubu jigae, hit the sauna to ease the aches, had a few beers and fell asleep feeling pretty content with the world!!

Smallest Ski Boots in the World...barely came past my ankle!

1 comment:

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