After a ride out of Seoul into the mountains and stepping off the shuttle bus, you might find that the air is different ― Konjiam Resort in Gyeonggi Province, about a 50-minute drive from southern Seoul, is nestled in the valleys of Jeonggwangsan Mountain, granting fresh, crisp air.
The famous Noribong peak was covered with snow and the reflected light makes the eyes squint. The mild slopes are family-friendly, covered with clean, fine snow for beginners and those of mid-level ability. Skiers and snowboarders flaunt their colorful outfits and techniques, and take plenty of time to play in the snow.
|Snowboarding in Daemyung Vivaldi Park (Daemyung Vivaldi Park)|
“Welcome to the winter resort, the best place to spend your winter,” said Bae Chan-young, assistant manager of the sales and marketing team at Konjiam Resort.
Winter may seem to be over, with the calendar quickly counting down to spring next month.
However, winter lovers and sports fanatics all know that it ain’t over ― the mercury still lingers in the sub-zero region and heavy snowfall blankets the whole country.
Late February and early March may be the best time to take up “leports” ― Konglish for leisure sports ― as resorts are not too crowded and people can receive the best treats.
Starting from the main entrance gate at Konjiam Resort, lodges, conference rooms and walking trails bustle with holidaymakers armed with ski boots, goggles, padded outfits and heaps of expectation for the fun to come.
About 400,000-500,000 winter sports lovers have already visited the resort in the 2012/13 winter season, and still more than 2,000 daily rush to take advantage of the final days of winter, already tinged with hints of spring.
“We try to restrict daily admission to 7,000,” Bae said.
Not just for skiiers
The resort is not only for ski or snowboard lovers: The facility is also filled with other programs for those who do not dare venture outdoors.
In Konjiam, several spas such as Whoo Spa, Wellness Spa and Family Spa provide different services but an equal level of comfort. Well-trained masseuses rub and relax the muscles of the feet, legs, shoulders and the entire body.
Youngsters who are not into spa treatments can spend their time at the fitness club and sports club, equipped with a pool and ping pong tables, or sing karaoke.
Mothers could go artsy by visiting the exhibition hall on the ground floor of EW Village. Currently, an exhibition using flower petals is being held. Those interested can purchase the pieces on the spot.
The resort is holding a “one point free ski clinic” held by ski instructors who were formerly part of the national squad. A total of 20 people in the morning and 40 in the afternoon from Monday through Friday are invited to the free ski clinic.
The resort is offering a 240,000 won package which includes a one-night stay at its lodge, a buffet breakfast, sauna, a 50 percent discount for the lift, and a 20 percent discount for the family spa.
Discounts and treats
As the crowds thin out at the end of the season, resorts are giving out discounts and perks to those who patronize their facilities until the end of the season, when they close usually around March.
● Daemyung Vivaldi Park gives an additional lift coupon or an admission ticket to its summer resort, Ocean World, to those who use their accommodation during weekdays till Feb. 28. For more information, call 1588-4888.
● Phoenix Park offers free accommodation for a day, or a lift if a group of more than four people makes a reservation. It also has a 160,000 won weekday package providing lift use for two, buffet breakfast for two and a one-night stay at its accommodation. A similar package including spa and sleigh use is also on offer. For more information, call 1588-2828.
● Jisan Forest Resort gives a 50 percent discount for lift use to university students on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to 20-somethings and 30-somethings on Wednesdays and to everyone on Mondays and Fridays. For more information, call (031) 644-1200.
● Yangji Pine Resort gives a 50 percent discount for parents and 70 percent off to children under 6 on Sundays in February. Families with elementary school-aged children can get 50 percent off lift and ski rental as well as a 30 percent discount for training. On Mondays, visitors can get 70 percent off for renting skis and 50 percent off for lift use. On Tuesdays, the same perks are applied for snowboard rental. Those who use the shuttle bus to the resort can get 50 percent off in February.
The resort also offers a 117,000 won package consisting of a one-night stay in its accommodation, lift use for a day, sauna admission for two, and half-price rentals for two. For more information, call (02) 744-2001.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com