Saturday, February 20, 2010

SKI KOREA: Part One

HIGH ONE RESORT

Before coming to Korea, I'd been on a snowboard a total of three days in my life. The first time was on a Duxbury Middle School ski trip in the 7th grade. The next time was not until my second semester at UMass. That was 2006, so I'm thinking four years later, how hard could it be?

For sure, I'm not alone in my limited experience. Handsome "you know what really boils my piss?" James has only picked up skiing in the last month or so. Another friend, Tim, learned to snowboard two months ago. Both have only hit the mountain a couple times and they aren't unusual cases amongst our other friends.

My first trip was to HighOne Resort. It was a package deal - bus both ways, 2-day rentals, 2-day lift pass, and one night hotel accommodation for 180,000won (~$170).

When I finally got up there, it only took a few spills to get the feel down, and before long we were tearing.
I attribute most of it to long summer days spent skimboarding Duxbury beach. Little did I know back then the service it would do me on the mountains of Korea. I certainly never really thought that Korea would be the place that I'd hone my snowboarding skills, but the opportunities are there and I'm thrilled.
Hitting the mountain has definitely gave me a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the Korean landscape and outdoors. Given the bitter cold, it's hard to get out there, but I think once the weather breaks, there will be loads of fun stuff to do.
Tim and I take it all in.
Joanne and I prepped for our first run of day two.

Some of the get-ups Koreans wear out there are remarkable. If there's one thing these people do, it's accessorize. They may be disgracing the sport by falling all over the place but they look damn good doin' it. There were times when I felt like we were in the midst of a winter sports fashion show. It's winter 2010, and neon colors are IN.
Dude in the purple dread ha blue ice-demon suit smokes a cigarette (not pictured).
Another big thing is the couples matching. Couples would have the same outfit from head to toe. A ridiculous show of affection and a little nauseating.
The resort employees were awesome! They had these adorable suits and would wave with two hands, head rocking back forth and bouncing: "heyloooo nice-ah to meet-ah youuu." In the west, this would be considered humiliating. Here, it's embraced, and it brightened my day.
Regular Koreans also got into the costumed spirit:
Flying squirrel, tiger, and cow have mountainside a conference.

It's hard to convey in text, but Korean language doesn't really allow for words to end in a consonant. Instead they add an "ee" or "ah" to the end. I regularly hear my school (COOLish) referred to as COOLisheee. At the end of lessons, students say finisheee. More common is the "ah." It makes for some funny Korean accent impressions to just "ah" to everything. Case in point:
YOU WANT HOT DOGAHHH!? NEW YORKA HOT DOGAHHHH!!!

Skype me and I'll gladly act this out for you. My parents seemed to get a kick out of it.

Don't underestimate Korean ingenuity. Featured here: the log cabin ski-lift-drop trash receptacle.
Tim, handsome as ever, during out last run of the weekend with cool sky lighting effects in the background. Without all that much soreness, we ended up finishing strong.

STAY TUNED FOR SKI KOREA: Part Two...

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