Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snowboarding in Korea

I went snowboarding a couple of times this winter. I had only been boarding once before, many years ago, so I am still learning. It scares me, but I love it!! (I'm scared of heights and speed!)The first outing (January 25th) was to Vivaldi Park, which is a couple of hours north east of Seoul. As we had someone driving, we left very early and returned the same day in the evening (though in hindsight, we should have made plans to just stay there for the night).The resort was not very busy (due to it being the Lunar New Year long weekend), which was great since 3 of us were beginners. The hill has 12 slopes and the snow was great. It had been snowing so it was all fresh and it continued to snow on and off when we were there.The menu at the cafeteria had us rolling on the floor - the item at the bottom of the menu says, "Squid three dual beam blows". Ummmm. What is that? The Korean says it is Osambulgogi, which is a pork and squid dish. I suppose the "three dual beam" refers to the samgyupsal, which is 3 layer pork belly (similar to bacon but cut thicker).
Everything shuts down for an hour at around 5 for the hills to be freshly groomed before the evening skiing, to mark the end of the half day lift tickets.The evening time was great. With the lights on, it was easy to see and there were a lot less people. Quite peaceful, actually, though they do have Korean music playing all day from loud speakers on the lift posts.
I'm not very good at boarding. I know I don't do it right. I do it my own way. I don't turn properly. Actually, I don't turn at all. Instead, I keep switching my front foot - regular (left forwards) to goofy (right forwards) to regular to goofy, zig-zagging my way down the hill. I tried doing a proper turn once... resulting in a fractured tailbone - OUCH!!!!!! Still getting over that one (couldn't sit or really walk without being in a lot of pain for the first couple of weeks after). Didn't stop me from going again, though. Went straight back up to the top of the mountain for another run. But after that, I decided I should get more comfortable with what I can do on the board rather than trying anything new, since I don't want to hurt myself any more before my big trip. I NEED to be able to sit properly (long flights and bus rides almost every day will not be fun if I can't sit for long) and have to be able to carry my pack and such.The second boarding trip (February 8th) was to Bears Town for a morning of boarding. We got up really early and took a taxi to the hill (because of where we were at the time, it was much easier to do that than to go to one of the bus pick up points). Bears town is fairly close to Seoul, just to the northeast. Bears Town is a fairly popular place for day trips from Seoul.It has 11 slopes and is fairly easy to get to. When we went, though, it wasn't so great. Pretty much the entire hill was ice covered in man made snow, which was pretty much tiny little balls of ice. If you fall, you hit hard, and keep sliding for quite a ways. It is hard to get up as there is nothing to grip. Several times I had to slide a ways down to find a spot to grip. It is much harder to board on ice, as there is no resistance and the board just wants to fly out from under you. My legs certainly got a good workout trying to keep me up!! I fell a lot more this trip than I did the trip to Vivaldi Park. My tailbone survived - when I fell I purposely landed more flat on my back rather than on my butt. I did manage to hurt my elbow, though. sort of hyper extended it. I was feeling that for the following week. It is okay now for the most part.
I wish I could have gone some more but as I'm out of here next weekend, I don't really have time. Too bad. I'll have to wait until next year.

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