BY FRANK PEARSALL
For a ton of different reasons, South Korea is an absolutely perfect place to go skiing.
In this gorgeous and vibrant country, you’ll have access to so many unique experiences and rich details, creating a ski experience just as good as anywhere in the world – and with a little something extra special.
Korea is a beautiful country with an amazing ski culture that every true ski lover deserves to experience at least once. The Korean landscape is heavily mountainous. In fact, these mountains are famous for their stunning resemblance to the legendary slopes of the Alps. The weather is dry, yet the snowfall itself is perfect for a wide variety of ski junkies.
In other words, no matter what type of skier you are, with just a bit of looking you’re guaranteed to find the perfect hills for your own style.
Whether you visit the gorgeous provinces of Chungcheong, Gangwon, Gyeonggi, or any of the others, a delightful experience awaits, unlike any that can be found in Europe or North America. It’s everything you want in a ski trip and more.
Of course, everything worthwhile has a price tag. So, let’s take a look at all the costs. With this info, you’ll be able to plan your budget and enjoy every second of your trip without stressing over the costs.
Cost of Getting to Korea (Note: all prices are approximated as of June 2020, and in $USD unless marked otherwise)
Do you live in South Korea already? If so, awesome. If not, well you’re probably in for a bit of a journey.
Right off the bat, your ski travel expenses are likely going to take the biggest chunk of your budget. We want to make sure we’ve got that accounted for, so we ran the numbers and put together the data.
Below is a quick rundown on what you can expect to pay for your flight to get there, depending of course on where you live.
Every one of these is assuming a round-trip, economy flight, with one baggage and one carry-on. Plan on taking your ski equipment? Don’t worry, we’ll cover that in a later section.
- North America, west coast (near LA) <-> Seoul: $950 USD
- North America, east coast (near DC) <-> Seoul: $1050 USD
- UK (around London) <-> Seoul: 650 USD (530 GBP)
- Western Europe (around Paris)<-> Seoul: 550 USD (600 Euros)
- New Zealand (Auckland)<-> Seoul: $900 USD (1400 NZD)
- Australia (various areas)<-> Seoul: $700 to $850 USD (1000 – 1250 AUD)
Depending on where you live, that’s basically what you can expect to pay for your round-trip flight to Seoul. Korea is so small that if you decide to go to a different city like Incheon, you’ll basically pay the same amount.
That’s not all, though. The budget-conscious traveler needs to be wary of the hidden extra cost of airport transport service.
Cost of Starting Your Ski Adventure
Congrats, you made it to the Land of the Morning Calm. But don’t get too excited just yet, your ski adventure doesn’t start right away (unless your plane crash lands in the middle of the Taebaek mountains). First, you need to actually get yourself from the airport to your ski resort of choice.
Depending how far away your ski resort is from the airport, you may want to take the night to relax. After a long flight, you’ll be tired, sore, cramped, and probably pretty jet-lagged. You’re going to want to sleep. You probably are not going to feel like finishing this last bit of commute immediately, so it’s best to stay in a hotel room for the night.
You’ve just had a nine-hour flight, and you’re probably exhausted. After another hour in customs, do you want to spend the next two or three hours in a taxi, or stressfully trying to navigate the train stations and buses to get to your resort, the whole time bringing all your big bulky ski equipment and packs?
Also, most of the directions will be in Korean, especially once you’re out of the city. Well rested, that trip can be a fun mini-adventure. If you’re exhausted and jet-lagged, it could be hell on earth.
If you decide to rest, you’ll need to add another $75 for a nice hotel, as well as the extra transport cost – taxis are quite cheap, so you can expect a ballpark cost of $80 (airport-hotel-resort). Using a train/bus, probably $15 total.
Uber is currently not available in Korea, so expect to pay for a taxi. Honestly, they are surprisingly cheap. Public transport is insanely cheap in Korea, too. Want to save some money? Ditch the taxis and use a bus.
When you wake up refreshed and happy the next morning after the flight, it’s time to finally get to the resort and check in. Most ski resorts are a 2-3 hour trip on the train or bus. You can carve that time in half with a taxi, but you’ll be paying much more.
If you use a shuttle and/or train to get to your resort, you’ll pay from $5 to $15, depending on the distance. A taxi can be between $30 to $60, even for as far as an hour away.
Cost of Ski Equipment in Korea
Finally, we get to the fun part – the skiing! When it comes to ski equipment, you’ve got two options:
Bring your own: You could bring all of your equipment, including skis and poles. Most (but not all) airlines treat sports equipment as another instance of checked baggage.
As a rule of thumb, most airlines charge $50 or more for a second checked baggage per flight (that total doubles for return trip). That means you can check in one bag of clothes and other ski equipment, and the skis and poles will be bundled together and treated as your second “checked luggage.”
You can check out the luggage policy of Asiana Airlines and Korean Airlines, the two biggest international Korean airlines. If you’re flying on a different airline, you should be sure to check with them.
Rent equipment: You could take some of your equipment with you – goggles, gloves, snow clothes, helmet, etc., and rent skis from the resort. Most resorts we looked at will charge $80 to $160 USD per person, per week, for skis and poles. Boots will add another $75 – $150 for a week.
Which is cheaper? It depends on their airline, and on the particular resort. In short, it’s probably cheaper to check your equipment in as carry-on. Still, it’s worth your time to check out the airline and/or resort you book with for more details.
Now that you’ve got your equipment figured out and the flights are booked, you have everything lined up. However, there’s just one very obvious thing left – the ski resort.
Cost of Skiing in Korea
Different resorts will cost different amounts. To make things as simple as possible, we broke down the pricing into the two main categories: cost of using the facilities (ski pass, lift pass), and cost of a standard one-bedroom room at the resort.
Single day ski passes, including lift access, are generally around the $70 range. This can increase or decrease by around 25%, depending on the business of the season. Ski lessons costs an extra $200 – $400 for a week.
Accommodations will typically run higher than the ski pass. We found the average range for a single, queen-sized bedroom to be in the $80 – $160 range. Consider this the “budget” price. If you want something fancy, suite options run upwards of $360 per night.
Summary of Expenses
- Return flight, (1 checked luggage + ski check-in as baggage) OR (1 checked luggage, and renting skis + poles): $600 – $1,350
- Hotel (optional) for 1 night, + transport: $75 – $100
- Transport to the resort (cheap if bus, expensive if taxi): $5 – $50
- Ski pass and accommodation 7 nights: $1,050 – $1,700
- Ski lessons (optional): $200-400
- Transport back to the airport $5 – $50
If you’ve got a shorter flight, find a cheap way to bring or rent equipment, skip the hotel, and only use public transport, you can pay as little as $1,800. If you have a longer flight, you have to pay more for bringing your equipment or renting, you do stay in a hotel an extra night, and you taxi everywhere, you may pay more in the ballpark of $3,600.
Keep in mind that these are estimates for a one-week trip for one person.
Korea’s rich and unique culture will add a totally new flavor to your ski vacation. A beautiful and safe country, it’s densely packed with tall, majestic white mountains that are picture-perfect for skiing. While it’s not the cheapest place to travel, Korea is certainly a beautiful and magnificent place for any skier.
Anyone who gets the rare chance to dig their skies into the beautiful snow of the Land of Morning Calm should definitely do so.
About the Author
My name’s Frank Pearsall, and I created snowgaper.com to help you become an even better skier.
I’m from a town in mid-west Ohio, and at a young age I got passionate about skiing and snowboarding. Ever since my first run, nothing else made me feel more alive than the cold wind whipping my face as I sailed faster and faster down the tracks at the local trail.
As I continued with life and my career, I married an amazing woman and fathered a beautiful daughter. Throughout all this, I always made time to keep pushing myself harder and harder, trying to learn and explore everything I could about the world of winter sports. I got my best friends to start skiing, and my passion spread to them, as well.