We previously published an article about the Alpensia Resort & 700 Water Park here on Korea Ye, but feel this post offers another view with different details. You can also read more about skiing in Korea here. Enjoy!
CONTRIBUTED BY LYNN MESSER
We recently took advantage of a three-day weekend and took the family to Alpensia Ski Resort. We had a blast! Alpensia is located in Pyeongchang, where the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held. We have heard through the grapevine that Alpensia will be the Olympic Village.
There are actually three hotels at the resort – Intercontinental, Holiday Inn Suite, and Holiday Inn Resort. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort. I am so glad we chose this one! The ski slopes are right behind this hotel. You could sit in the lounge, drink a Bailey’s and coffee, and watch the skiers coming down the slopes!
The room itself was pretty standard for what you would see in any Holiday Inn. One great thing I noticed was a panel on the wall by the TV. It had outlets for USB, HDMI, and AV cables allowing you to use your own entertainment on the TV. There are a couple English-speaking channels on the cable.
Each of the hotels has at least one restaurant and lounge inside the hotel, as well as room service. Outside of the hotel is like a little village, with tons of restaurants to choose from. There is even a Dominos! There is also a convenience shop if you forgot your toothbrush or want to get some snacks. According to the hotel guide, there is a karaoke bar as well.
We are beginners in every sense of the word when it comes to skiing. My husband and I both went when we were kids, but hadn’t been since. My kids had never been. My middle son told us during the last winter Olympics that he was going to be an Olympian snowboarder one day after watching Shawn White. We decided we better at least get him on a snowboard if that’s his plan!
If you are staying at the resort, there is a huge discount on all rentals and ski lift tickets. It was much less expensive than we were expecting! Our first day we didn’t get ski lift tickets because we didn’t want to get in over our heads. We all had snow pants, coats and gloves, so we didn’t need any of that. However, you could come with nothing and either rent or buy it all there. The rental times are divided into AM, PM and Night, with each session lasting four hours.
The ticket desk has an English speaking counter, so that will help you out when you are buying your tickets. When you buy your tickets, you will be paying for any clothing and equipment rental, as well as ski lift tickets. Once you buy your tickets, go inside the building. There is a desk to pick up any clothing, and there is a desk to rent ski equipment. Snowboarding equipment is right next to the ski rental. You will tell the attendant what size you need and they will adjust the bindings on the skis. Ski poles are on the side. There are lockers to store anything you don’t need. If you don’t have any change for the locker, there is a change machine near one of the shops.
A note for my ladies with larger calves: I was unable to find ski boots that fit my calves. I don’t know who was more embarrassed, me or the attendant trying to fit me. We tried on 5 different pairs of boots, even men’s sizes. Once the upper part of the boot fit my calf, the lower part was too big for my foot. The ski boots are the back closing kind, and I’ve been told that makes a difference. I’m not an overly large woman, but I’ve always had “strong” calves. I have a friend that said she went to a shop in town and they were able to help her. So that is an option if you have the same problem. I ended up getting a refund, and it was a good thing I did.
My 3-year-old was excited until we actually went outside, and then he lost it. So he and I skipped the slopes and did our own thing. My husband and two older boys, however, had a blast! My middle son snowboarded, and he actually has a talent for it! He was flying down the bunny hill by the end of his 4 hours! The next two days they got ski lift tickets and actually skied down the big hill. They have not stopped talking about it and can’t wait to do it again!
Right next to the resort is the Ocean 700 indoor water park. My 3-year-old and I went all three days. We loved it!
If you are staying at the resort, you also get a 35% discount for the water park. Once you buy your ticket, go through the turnstile and immediately take off your shoes. To your right you will see rows of lockers. Each person in your party will have a locker number on their ticket. Males have lockers in the lower numbers; women lockers are higher numbers. Find your locker, put your shoes in, and remove the key, which has a wristband to wear the rest of the day. This will also be your key to the same locker number in the locker room. Go across the lobby and there are entrances to the men and women’s locker rooms. There will be naked people everywhere. Just go ahead and move past it because that is part of living in Korea! Find your locker, dump your stuff, and change into your suit. Follow the signs and you will come to some stairs. If you go up there is a naked spa area. If you go downstairs, you will walk past the showers and then out into the water park.
Once you are in the water park, there are a few things that require a life vest and hat. Once again, that is just part of Korea living. You will see a vest rental desk. You can also rent chairs (called a sunbed), and purchase tickets for Dr. Fish and those giant inflatable hamster tubes. The great thing is you don’t need any money with you! Scan your locker key and it will add everything to your bill! If you rent a chair, they will give you a tag to hang from the chair that shows the chair has been rented.
There is a food court with the usual Korean choices, as well as a pizza place that serves Cass beer and Dunkin Donuts upstairs. All of these places can be paid for with your key.
The waterpark itself has a wave pool, a river, several water slides, hot tubs, and kid areas. I call the river the Unlazy River! Imagine combining the wave pool with a lazy river… it was insane! I’ve never seen anything like it.
One of our favorite pools was the Bathing Pool that had different jet stations. Each station massaged a different part of your body. To turn the jets on, you simply touched the touch pad to the right of the station.
This pool also went outside. I was hesitant at first. Why would I want to go outside while in water in January? But it was actually pretty amazing! There are more jets out there, and the water is the perfect temperature. We were out there on our second night and it started snowing. It was magical!
Once you’ve had your fill, go back to the locker rooms. You have the option to shower, and there are spinners that spin the water out of your suit. They have small towels the size of a hand towel that you are supposed to dry off with and walk up the stairs naked. I used my pool towel to dry off with and wrap around myself to walk up the stairs. There are hair dryers in the dressing area as well as combs and brushes that they sanitize. Or you can use your own. Once you are dressed, go back out to the lobby to the Cashier window right beside the shoe lockers. They will verify your purchases and you will cash out. After paying, take your key to your shoe locker and leave the key in the locker.
If you are looking for a weekend winter getaway, Alpensia is a great place to do it!
English Website: http://www.alpensiaresort.co.kr/EnInfoAlpInfoIntro.gdc
Address: South Korea, Kangwon, 평창군 대관령면 솔봉로 325
325 Solbong-ro, Daegwalnyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea
GPS Coordinates: 37.66160989999999, 128.67633580000006
Follow Highway 1 South to Highway 4 East toward Gangleung. You will pass Ichon, Wonju, Saemal, and Jinbu along the way. When you reach the Hoenggye Interchage, take a right and follow the signs to Alpensia Resort. It takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Seoul.