Updated October 24, 2014
SKI IN NORTH KOREA
Before we get started, see our primer post from our FIRST SKI TRIP TO THE MASIK PASS for general resort information.
Now that you’re all caught up, here’s the LATEST:
FIRST STEP: BOOK A MASIK PASS SKI TOUR
We have long and short ski tour options for the 2014-2015 ski season:
Before the trip, take these steps:
ASSESS YOUR SKILLS
Please give us an honest and accurate assessment of your skill level before the trip. This way, we will be fully prepared to assist you in your North Korea ski adventure.
Prepare emergency medical insurance. As with all of our tours, it is a requirement that you obtain emergency medical insurance. You can obtain insurance from a number of international providers. For example, Travel Guard, SOS International, Medex Assistance Corporation, Global Doctors, and World Nomads, to name a few, offer affordable emergency medical policies to cover you for the duration of your trip. If you arrive in Beijing without one, we can sell you a policy through Travel Guard Chartis in China for an equivalent of approximately $30-35 USD.
NOTIFY YOUR EMBASSY
Optional: Notify your home embassy in Beijing to let them know you are going on the trip. If you wish for us to register your stay with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, we can do that on your behalf. In addition to handling consular matters for all Nordic citizens, the Swedish Embassy also acts as the protectorate power for U.S., Canadian and Australian citizens visiting the DPRK.
WELCOME TO THE MASIK PASS!
Before you hit the slopes, know where the first aid stations are and what to do in the case of an emergency.
Some rules of the road:
- Always wear protective helmets, glasses and snow gear.
- If you will be taking the lift up, please let us know where you’re going and which run you’ll do.
- Have your insurance information handy, and let us know in advance if you have any special medical needs.
- Use caution and have fun!
There are 3 first aid stations at the resort. One at the base of slopes 6,7,8 and 9. Another at the base of slope 10. Last one near the peak at the convergence of slopes 6, 7, 8, and 9. There are also patrol stations set up near the first aid stations, and we’ve been assured that the operators will be on the look-out for on-piste injuries.
Look for huts that look like this:
1. Minor injuries will be treated at the resort.
2. More serious injuries will be treated at the nearby hospital in Wonsan.
3. Very serious injuries may require an emergency evacuation to Pyongyang. In this case, the resort will call the helicopter from Pyongyang to arrive at the heliport at Masik. Transit time could take up to 40-60 minutes.
4. If we need to evacuate you out to Beijing, we’ll work with the Swedish Embassy to make those arrangements and deliver prompt medical attention.
4. For all scenarios, the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang will be promptly notified.
Bring your own gear and equipment. If you choose to take your skis or snowboard as cargo, Air Koryo allows 20kg of free baggage allowance for economy passengers. If your combined luggage weight is over 20kg, Air Koryo will charge 20RMB per additional kg on the Beijing to Pyongyang flight. On the flight from Pyongyang to Beijing, the fee jumps to 4 Euros per additional kg! Our strong recommendation: PACK LIGHT if you’re going to bring your own equipment.
Rent gear and equipment at the resort. Masikryong-branded ski apparel are pretty neat, bright and uniform. We might have trouble picking you out of a crowd, but at least you’ll fit in.
Wear protective helmet and glasses. For your safety, we require all tourists to wear protective gear while skiing or boarding.
GET YOUR LIFT PASS
LIFT PRICE: Day lift passes are approximately 35USD, including the equipment and gear / Night or half day lift passes are approximately 21 USD
Masik lift passes are now in the form of electronic swipe cards. Put the card in your jacket sleeve and each time you want to get on the chair lift, escalator or ski tow, swipe your card. You’ll be greeted in a lovely North Korean accent “welcome” or “환영합니다.”
Whether you join our short North Korea ski tour or long North Korea ski tour, we include 1 full day of skiing (25 Euros) and 1 half day (15 Euros) in our package price. Night skiing is optional and costs 15 Euros as an out of pocket expense.
KNOW THE TRAILS
First things first, snow conditions: snow is pretty decent here. The runs are well groomed at night and snow freshly made, if not fallen. One tourist described the snow as “compact and grippy.”
There are 10 runs in total. But at the current moment, only slopes 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are open and operational. Slopes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are still under construction, and we’re told they will be ready definitely for next season.
Slopes 6, 7, 8 and 9 can be accessed from the peak. A portion of slopes 6 and 7 can also be accessed by a separate 2-passenger ski lift found at the base of the main convergence area.
Slope 10 is an intermediate run and it’s a great area for practice or lessons. Beginners and lesson-takers can use the gliding escalator on the left of the slope that will take you mid-slope. However, it’s slightly detached from the rest of the runs. You need to walk about 2 minutes down and around the main mountain to get there. Once you get there, you can rent skis, snowboards and all of the Masik gear at the snack hut at the bottom of slope. The snack hut serves pastries, coffee and tea, and hot foods.
Slope 10 is the only run, at the moment, that is open to night skiers. You can get all the way up the mountain by using the ski tow. Be careful here because if you’re not used to ski tows, they pull you up pretty quickly and it’s a bit difficult to maneuver the release. The initial feedback from our snowboarder tourists was that the path/ground underneath the ski tow was slightly sloped to the right so you need to be conscious to maintain your center.
GO TO THE PEAK
- The view is beautiful. On one side, you have an amazing mountain view. On the other, you can get a glimpse of the East Sea of Korea.
- The snow at the peak is wonderful and fluffy.
- The peak restaurant is cozy and warm. Order a slice of pizza, or be traditional and eat a bowl of North Korean corn noodles.
HOW TO GET TO THE PEAK
MAKE KOREAN FRIENDS
Okay, admittedly, it’s not easy to make Korean friends in North Korea. BUT, engaging in sports is one of the effective ways to make connections with people, transcending language and cultural barriers.
One of the highlights of the trip was when we were surrounded by a group of university students at the peak. They were very curious and inquisitive about how and why we were there, and they were especially interested in the snowboarders of the group, Jean Lee and David Grossenbacher, asking about snowboarding techniques and how they became so good at it. This is video of the group at the peak:
UNWIND AT THE HOTEL
After a long day in the snow, unwind. There are a number of activities available in the resort:
Play billiards with your Korean guides for $7 per hour:
Hit the bar:
Check out the pro shop:
HOW TO BOOK A SKI TRIP IN NORTH KOREA
See our Short Ski Tours HERE.
See our Longer Ski Tours HERE.
See general information on booking a tour to North Korea HERE.
To see more pictures from the Masik Pass resort, visit us at NorthKoreaTravel - Flickr.