Coming from Australia, we were able to find little information about skiing in Korea, which we opted for rather than Japan. On a wing and a prayer we found great flights with China Southern Airlines direct from Brisbane, got a great deal for 10 nights at the Holiday Inn Suites, booked a car to meet us at Incheon airport and crossed our fingers! Well, all of our wishes and more came true. As we landed at Incheon the first snowfall in weeks began, as we walked out of the airport to our waiting car, the kids squealed in delight, never having experienced a snowfall and the magic began.
My husband's suggestion that we arrive to Alpensia comfortably was a little indulgent but an absolute winner. We arrived at Alpensia in the late afternoon and were quickly processed and given keys to our beautiful 2 br apartment overlooking the Intercontinental Hotel and surrounding fields. The front desk staff are super friendly and helpful, with reasonable English. The apartment was perfect for our family of 4, well appointed with all the modern conveniences and spacious enough that we all had room to spread out. A quick trip into the village and we were able to pick up some provisions to tide us over til the next day. Dinner options were abundant, although we were partial to the Korean and Japanese restaurants closest to our block (across from the ticket office) and not a day went by without a visit to Angel-In-Us, where we would hook up with the free wi-fi. Oh, and for a treat, do breakfast at the Intercontinental - just wonderful.
Our first morning we tripped into Hoengye, the local town, by taxi (AUD$8 one way) and went shopping at one of the groceries stores. Language barriers aside, we stocked up on fresh fruit, local vegetables and staples (we enjoy cooking) and managed to find a ski shop with an English speaking assistant, who had lived in Brisbane for 1 year on an exchange (small world). People were so accommodating and so friendly, it blew us away. Once all geared up, the ski shop people gave us a lift back to Alpensia and helped us with our gear and shopping!!!
As the only skier in the family, I had a fun time rediscovering my skills and passion for the slopes in an afternoon session on the Alpensia slopes (Aussies think Smiggin Holes) while the boys (snow virgins) all had boarding lessons with English speaking instructors. Day 2 I skipped over to Yongpyong, home of 2018 Winter Olympics, and skied the gorgeous Dragon Peak run over and over until my ticket ran out. World class run, world class facilities and gorgeous surrounds - I was blown away (despite the -13C temp). Be careful of the free shuttle bus times or you might get caught waiting and hailing a taxi in the snow can be a little tricky!
The days rolled on with blue skies and sun, and lots of fun in the snow. Queues were non-existent so by lunchtime we were all stuffed. Good tip - buy a Morning Pass (8.30am - 1pm), ski non-stop then rest up for the afternoon - we found this worked well as the boys (10 and 12) would tire after lunch. We had a couple of non-ski days and went to Alpensia Ocean 700, the indoor waterpark, and had an absolutely fantastic afternoon including sauna time for the adults! Check out the outdoor spa, it's a hoot! Another day we booked a taxi and visited the Buddhist temples in the national park, including Woljeongsa (stunning) and on the return went up the ski jump tower and had afternoon hot chocolates (must do)! Oh, and did I mention the hang gliding ride and sledding - do it all as it is so much fun!
The snow was perfect perfect perfect each day and there was little to complain about our location - a five minute walk to everything, including the ski lift! All the food we ate out was fantastic, enjoyed our meals in our cosy apartment (serviced every day) and soaked it all in. The only negative is the absence of a self-serve laundry facility - 10 days of washing in the sink got a little trying and the laundry service prices were expensive.
On our last day the family skied at Yongpyong and we all had superb runs - so many options! Alas, our 10 day holiday came to an end, with a snowfall on our last evening as it had all begun. The morning we were due to leave, the boys couldn't help themselves and skied the last morning as snow continued to fall. We were so sad to leave...
We returned to Seoul on the bus, which was more than comfortable and negotiated our way through the subway to our next destination, the Metrol Hotel.
Our boys are still raving about this holiday and we are planning our return in January 2013 - can't wait!
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn And Suites Alpensia Pyeongchang Hotel Pyeongchang-Gun
- Holiday Inn And Suites Alpensia Pyeongchang Suite Pyeongchang-Gun, Gangwon-Do, South Korea