You don’t have to be an extreme sports fiend to play in the snow this month.
The winter is in full swing here on the Korean peninsula; chilly isn’t it! While the weather is just about nippy enough to freeze the naught bits off a Dokkaebi*, hibernating the season away tucked up in bed binging on herbal teas and spicy ramyeon all season would be a mistake. Instead, we should be thankful for the Siberian winds that sweep southwards and, due to the snow they bring, make skiing (or if you must insist on being cool, snowboarding) a go-to winter activity.But if propelling your fragile body down a vertical slope at breakneck speeds with your feet strapped to a couple of unyielding planks does not sound like your idea of a good time, then perhaps another snowy adventure is for you. Sledding, or as the Koreans say Sseolmae (썰매), is an altogether more graceful affair.
Due to the precious extra kilometers that Gyeongsang province stretches towards the equator, snowfall is rare and the climes are comparatively warmer than up towards Seoul. In order to make up for the short supply of snow the province receives, most of the theme parks in the area are doubling up as sledding venues for the winter.
Perhaps the most popular place to get your sled on is the Gyeongju World resort. The city of Gyeongju—already a cultural hub for the entire country and former capital of the ancient kingdom of Shilla—can also be your winter wonderland. This season the theme park will offer visitors the chance to scoot on down a purpose-built snow-covered slope. (Sled rentals for kids W9,000, adults W14,000).
Further south and much closer to Busan is the Tongdo Fantasia theme park located in Yangsan city. The resort, which boasts itself as the largest in South Gyeongnam, will also offer a sledding center as well as the usual theme park trappings.
Ironically named for any kind of wintery shenanigans at all is the spa resort of Bu Gok Hawaii, which is to be found near Miryang in central Gyeongnam. Through January 27th, this chilled-out spa will play host to sledding too.
Finally, for anyone living near Daegu, two theme parks near to the city—E-World and the eco-friendly Herb Hillz—will also offer sledding tracks for both young and old.
As the sage comedian Billy Connolly once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather… just bad clothes.” He should know, as he hails from the arctic tundra of Scotland. So stock up on as much Korean-colored thermal hiking gear as you can and brave the outside temperatures of Gyeongsang Province in all your luminous ajumma-like finery.
* Dokkaebi: A mythical and rather mischievous Korean goblin.
Gyeongju World gjw.co.kr 054-745-7711~5
Offers a lift specifically for sledding and affordable rentals.