Alli and I finally got a chance to go snowboarding in Korea. We had tried a couple of times already but ended up getting derailed in some way. This time we succeeded in what turned out to be a very good and busy day. Alli’s co-teacher Mr. Lee picked us up early one Saturday, and we went to a wedding about 2 1/2 hours away. After that, we had to drive another two hours to the resort, which was called Bearstown. When we arrived at about 4:30 pm, we rented boards, clothes and goggles. A snowboard rental is only about $10 per day, and a worker delivers them to the base of the mountain on a four-wheeler for you; not bad! We also bought some face warmers because it was a very cold day. We were ready, but it turned out that we came just as the slopes were being groomed for the next shift. We would not be able to start until 6:30 p.m. We had time to kill!
After a snack and some picture taking, it was time to go. Our shift was from 6:30 p.m. to 11p.m. All the ski resorts in Korea have night skiing. In the lift line, we saw a bunch of snowboarders who did not strap in to their board. They just carried it with them on the lift. It was strange because in all of our experience in Colorado, we had never seen this before, and there were quite a few people doing it. Anyway, we got on the lift and headed up.
At the top, the lift attendant bowed as we got off of our chair. As the night went on, we noticed that he was doing this every time we arrived. So with all the people there, he must have had a sore back from the constant bowing, but it did make our visit seem different from skiing in America. As a snowboarder, before every run you are on your butt in the cold snow strapping your loose foot into the board. Korea has pads at the top that you can sit on to help relieve this problem a bit, and I must say I kind of liked it.
Another unique thing at the base of the slopes in Korea is a wall of air hoses. These were used to spray your board and boots down to remove any ice chunks that had built up while riding. Alli and I could not imagine that this helps in any way, but it was fun to try it.
All in all, the skiing was good (but very cold) if not nearly as big as what we are used to. … But we have been pretty spoiled living in Steamboat Springs all those years. It took about 15 minutes to get from the bottom to the top and back down. Plus there were only a few different paths that you could travel down. We look forward to going again soon to a new resort. Next time I hope to go to a resort in Pyeongchang where the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held.