holidays/special days, travel/landmarks

Alpensia for the 2016 Lunar New Year

Although I’ve seen 10 winters already, I haven’t really experienced and frolicked in an abundance of snow. I’ve always wanted to walk in a winter wonderland where snow is not immediately shoveled  out of the way. Of course, I am writing with a very tropical mindset. I grew up in the Philippines, after all, where holidays are defined by fun under the sun and lots of laughter in sandy beaches. The coldest holidays that we have is playing on springtime temperature in the country’s summer capital, Baguio City. So, I just used to imagine sipping hot chocolate overlooking white, snowy slopes.

And it happened last Lunar New Year at the Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics. From the time my family spent our Summer Holiday at Alpensia last year, we have set our mind on going back for winter wondering at the promise it brings during a winter holiday.

We spent the holidays with friends. Our three families would hole up in our 2-bedroom rented condominium unit at the Holiday Inn & Suites for lunch, dinner and relaxation time.

view from our unit in Holiday Inn, Alpensia on our first day

The children know how to take care and entertain themselves and we, adults, are left to our own entertainment as well. If we had planned earlier, we could have billeted ourselves all in one location. Unfortunately, we only started talking about vacationing together a week or two before the Lunar New Year holidays. Good thing, our two family friends are game with driving back to their accommodation at night time and going back to the ski resort for the day’s activities again. Nevertheless, it was a great vacation for our families together.

Although the Lunar New Year is known to have notoriously heavy road traffic going out of Seoul, we only did 2 hours and 30minutes from Myeongdong to Alpensia, Pyeongchang. Not bad at all! After we settled down, we brought the children for sledding (LeRuof and DeFourth sledding) while one family went to Ocean 700 and another immediately enjoyed the slopes for an afternoon of skiing. Hubby and I have no experience in any winter sports so sledding was the easiest and safest activity we can bring our two sons to…. Hahaha.

sledding on our first day

But kids as they are, they look at everything as play. And play they did. Enjoy fully they did as well.

Kids sledding

Then we rested for the remaining of the afternoon and enjoyed the night view over good wine and great conversation courtesy of friends.

Night time view from our unit

We spent the next day, the Lunar New Year, on the slopes. Ooopppsss,  bunny slopes for us, hahaha.

Family photo for first-timers

Skiers would immediately notice something’s not right in the picture. Yap, my feet wasn’t firmly attached on my ski. You see, this was after the accident when a reckless tourist crashed into me and I fell flat on my tummy.  For a moment I was lying on the snow immobile hearing my son crying towards me. Poor kid! Good thing, I didn’t have my ski on when that happened because I was carrying my son’s ski uphill. Two things were on my thoughts while I was down there seeing only snow: 1) that he did not recklessly crashed into my son who was just beside me: 2) good thing I did not have my ski on or else my legs would have unimaginably twisted.  Day tourists in tour buses were aplenty that day of the Lunar New Year So the bunny hill wasn’t exactly safe. We’ve seen 3 men recklessly and uncontrollably went down the slopes and crashed into the net… And me!

But that didn’t dampen our party’s spirit. It was snowing heavily and the skiers in our group loved it!

By the time we went back to the unit to relax, the balcony was a powdery white

snow in the balcony

While we were preparing for dinner, the boys were indefatigable . They released their energy some more. It was a really good, snowy day to play, after all.

our boys never get tired

On our next day, everyone was out except me! I rested (leg and neck were a little bit sore from the fall) and slept and prepared a little birthday surprise for one of our friends. They all left that afternoon for Seoul while our little family stayed for another night. We went around checking and decided not to go inside the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. I remember reading about this and wanting to get to experience it. But being surrounded by the natural landscape of Alpensia in all its snowy glory, it has lost its charm, I guess. So we opted to just watch briefly from the outside (it’s walking distance and we can see the structures from our view from inside the Alpensia grounds) while the boys were playing.

I loved our last day!

This was our destination:

The Ski Jump Tower

We didn’t go to the Ski Jump Tower last summer but we didn’t want to pass this chance this vacation.Before  all the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics athletes and delegates crowd in here, we wanted to go up and check on the beauty of the Taebak Mountains. The Ski Jump Tower will be the venue for the ski jumping and the ski jumping part of the Nordic combined events.

There ‘s a monorail that will take you up to the tower. We opted to do a little adventure of our own and hiked up the snowy mountain up to the tower with our two boys in tow.

Hubby found a hiking trail right in front of the entrance of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

Quite steep for us. Good thing hubby found ropes meant for hikers. How thoughtful of them.

winter hiking

View was amazing even from the foot of that tiny mountain:

view of The Holiday Inn and Suites and part of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

I loved how we were covered by these trees but they cannot fully shield us because they too are powerless against winter. Comes spring and summer, these branches will once again be rich with its green leaves.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep.

and miles to go before I sleep.

and miles to go before I sleep.”

– Robert Frost

trees

We finally reached the top!

The Alpensia Ski Jump Tower

And from where we stood, we breathe in the fresh air and marveled at the beauty before us. From the bottom of the Ski Tower, this is the view opposite the grounds of Alpensia.

Taebak Mountains

Still from the bottom of the Ski Tower, photo below is the view of the grounds of Alpensia with its hotels and the magnificent mountain ranges outlining the skyline.

The other side of the Taebak Mountains showing the grounds of Alpensia

And these are the ski slopes of Alpensia with its hotels, water park, Convention Center, Concert Hall and even the venue of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival (bottom, right side of the bridge). This is the view from the viewing deck of the tower.

The grounds of Alpensia and its ski slopes

Pristine.

Glad that we made it to the top. We’ve been there, we’ll tell you all delegates and athletes of the 2018 Winter Olympics, hahahaha!

Before we left, we wanted to see again the small island fronting the Intercontinental Hotel. The lake was frozen, as expected. There wasn’t much to see and do but rest before we had to go back to Seoul.

The Intercontinental Hotel

It was a great vacation. And my Firstborn exclaimed, “Let’s go back again on Spring”.

Oooppppsss….

 

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11 thoughts on “Alpensia for the 2016 Lunar New Year

  1. That nighttime view from your unit looks AMAZING! I’m still surprised that skiing is so popular in Korea. My students always tell me tales of their skiing trips, whether it be on real or fake snow haha. I guess I should add this to my Korea bucket list! And your kids are adorable by the way! Great post 🙂

  2. Wow this looks like such an awesome family trip. The resort looks magical in a way – maybe it’s all the snow that makes it look like a literal winter wonderland. I really miss sled riding and doing snow activities as I grew up in the hills of Pennsylvania. I never got a chance to go skiing in Korea, but it looks like you had a great time!

  3. The ski jump tower looks awesome and the area looks amazingly beautiful. I would love to go sledding there one day! I hope I make it there for the Olympics!

  4. Finally, your Alpensia in the wintertime post is up! It looks like a completely different place with the addition of snow but I guess that’s how it its “supposed” to look like. I’m glad you got to enjoy the lunar new year in such a festive way while honoring the family aspect as it is a family-oriented celebration. And now I’ll always think back to your posts when I’m tuning into the Winter 2018 Olympics!
    Izzy recently posted..Why I Chose to Move to VietnamMy Profile

    1. Yap, funny I felt I had to finish my winter post before I forget about it again. I have lined up many posts but can’t find the concentration to really sit down on them. Thanks, Izzy.

  5. Wow! I’m glad you guys were able to find accommodation since it was booked last minute! We considered going there over the Lunar NY as well, but were running out of options with accommodation since we waited until last minute as well! We really want to go there since the Olympics will be held there next winter and we are leaving this summer! At least if we don’t make it we can live through your family’s adventure! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    Megan Indoe recently posted..Monkeys and Rollercoasters in this Hyper-Lapse of Everland.My Profile

    1. Hi Megan, my husband has booked us for the Lunar New Year last December. I didn’t know that he did. Our other friends though had to find other accommodation. It was still fun even though they had to drive back and forth from Alpensia to their Cabins.

  6. Hello ^^ Thanks for sharing this post! I’m definitely interested in visiting this resort and am thankful that you included a bit about your experience skiing. I haven’t been skiing in this country yet and I’m a bit fearful of the crowds and reckless novice skiers–very glad you didn’t get hurt worse!

    Glad to see there was plenty for you and the kiddos to do, looks like it was a great trip ^^
    Lindsay recently posted..Teaching English In Korea: Coworker Miscommunication – A NET PerspectiveMy Profile

    1. Yes, Lindsay, the eager learners were really reckless that day. I haven’t done skiing before but the first thing I did when I felt like I can’t stop was to allow myself to fall down so as not to harm anyone. It wasn’t the case for the others, though:-).

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