Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shredding some Korean slopes

With spring quickly approaching a bunch of us from work decided it was prime time to hit the Korean slopes, so last weekend eighteen of us headed over to the other side of the peninsula for a day of spring snowboarding at the High1 Ski Resort in Gangwan-Do. It was easy enough, we took the bus from Jamsil for ₩45,000, which covered our roundtrip fare and lift ticket, and after two hours we arrived at the base and were able to rent all of our gear, coats and pants included. I did my best to lose my Coloradoan pretention and just enjoy being back on a board even if the altitude and slope selection weren’t meeting my Rocky Mountain standards, and I must admit, the snowboarding itself was pretty decent – the weather was warm and sunny, the snow wasn’t bad, and the company was great. All in all, I had a good day of spring snowboarding but after a lifetime of almost exclusively boarding in Colorado, it was hard to ignore all of the Korean quirks. At least eighty percent of the people on the slopes were pimped out in baggy neon gear like you see the pros wearing, regardless of their skiing and boarding aptitude (this type of attire is usually reserved for those with the skills to match it); at the top of the lifts you were greeted by dancing lifties wearing headsets and instructing you to “Stand up now! Ok! To the right! Thank you!;” and no matter where you went on the mountain they were blasting K-pop music from really tall speakers. To say the least, it definitely left me missing Colorado!

Most of the people in our group were beginners so I spent the day with a couple of the guys, breaking only for a lunch of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Carlsberg. The only incident of the day was a cafeteria-fight with an ajusshi custodian who picked a fight with us and literally tried to throw us out of the coffee shop (manhandling us and our trays) instead of simply explaining we needed to buy another coffee. Other than that, we had a fun day, making silly videos while racing down the slopes and avoiding the hoards of people clogging the runs and lift lines as best as we could. At the end of the day we spent some well-earned time in the hot tubs before retiring to our luxurious condo for a night of pizza and card games. Even though we returned to Seoul the next day, it was a nice little retreat before the crunch of the final week of the school year.

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