A couple weeks ago, whilst all of China was celebrating the new year, we snuck off to Korea in a celebration of our own.
We've been to High1 before. By all accounts, it's Korea's best resort. Four hours drive from Seoul, High1 features nice, long, wide runs and famously good snow. A few years ago we came to High1 and spent a few days but so much has happened since then that I could barely remember anything. I suppose this is one of the virtues of having a terrible memory for details... getting to enjoy things for the second time with only a rediscoverable recolation of the highlights.
And High1 is frankly full of highlights. Fast, modern lifts zip you up either side of what is a fairly low but deep valley. The whole resort basically filters down into a main trunk which makes navigation easy despite there being plenty of runs. The queues are short, views beautiful and snowboarders heavily outnumber skiers. As someone who has fallen off almost every button-lift in the Alps this feels pretty good.
Compared with the Alps it's small. On a speed-mission it would be possible to do every run in a day and at a relaxed pace the whole resort could be covered in two. Honestly though, some of the bigger runs are monsters and will have you looping back around them a handful of times to nail it. The runs are heavily fenced in, there's no off piste, no itineraries and no beer. The Pistes are bashed twice daily and because the resort is fairly low it means it doesn't get as icy (as Yongpyong) and the snow is fluffy... but it dumps in centimetres rather than feet overnight.
Which all balances out to a rather nice time. It doesn't have the powder of Japan, nor the expanse of the alps nor the chillaxing of the Rockies... but as a complete package it has all the goods. That's before I mention that accomodation was US$30/night, supper was around $20 and lift-passes $60... and the best part - Night Skiing means a potential 12 hours of snowboard action.
Then there's the depth of Korean Cuisine - namely BBQ and Fried Chicken - with lashings of beer & makkoli. I've broken enough tech in the past few months to brave pulling a camera out on the mountain. Instead the big guns came out for the main evening event.