I just returned from an exhausting, but fun filled weekend with the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and other foreign supporters. Our group consisted of an international representation of tourists, students, and foreign residents from around the world. Some countries represented were Taiwan, Indonesia, Poland, Pakistan, South Africa, France and others. We left early Friday morning January 23rd by charter bus from KTO headquarters located near city hall in Seoul. The journey took about 3 hours so the first thing we did when we arrived at the sprawling High 1 Resort was sit down to lunch. The place was great and we got to choose from 4 traditional Korean stews (soy bean paste, seasoned beef, kimchi, and spicy seafood). These soups have different names in Korean, but you can find out more about that in the Korea help section.
After a delicious lunch we checked in to the hotel and changed in to our ski wear. Ski wear can be rented in advance and delivered to the hotel so that it is waiting for you when you arrive. High 1 resort has several accommodation options (http://www.high1.com/eng/Hhome/main.high1) and we stayed in the High 1 hotel that looks like a castle, which was very nice with a full bathroom, comfortable bed, big windows, and refrigerator. We registered for the event then took the bus back down the mountain to the ski slopes. Here we competed for prizes in the snow tube festival after a few fast paced practice runs. Sliding down the hill at full speed on a rubber inner tube was exhilarating!
Ski lessons by an excellent English speaking instructor followed. I’ve never had proper lessons so it was nice to finally learn how to stop properly without falling down, but more importantly how to get back up quickly with out popping out of the skis. I’d much rather snowboard, however I do intend to improve in both sports.
Returning to the hotel we participated in a buffet dinner and awards ceremony. There was a special treat when dancers from the hit show Sachoom performed for us. Many prizes were given and there were some fun games and competitions. Following this I returned to my room for a hot soak in the bath for my aching body and a movie, but other members went to go check out the resort’s casino. Although I’d have loved to gamble, as a teacher I don’t have money to lose.
The next day began early again with a buffet breakfast then over to Jeongsan rail bike (http://www.railbike.co.kr/). There were 4 people to a bike and we pedaled our little hearts out for a little over 7 km. For the most part it’s an easy ride and the scenery is beautiful. This time of year it is very cold and there’s ice and snow everywhere. I’m hoping to return to this area in warmer weather to enjoy it even more.
Before traveling back to Seoul we enjoyed a traditional Korean meal in the style of the province. The main dish was a mountain root called ‘deodeok’ that was quite tasty and we enjoyed unlimited side dishes as well as rice that you mix with a special brown paste. The food was some of the best I have ever had in Korea and it was 100% vegan! All in all I had the best time, but I always do with KTO. I could not stop smiling all weekend. To find out more about the annual event check it out here: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=1968172