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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Eden Valley, Skiing in Ulsan’s Backyard

By Deirdre Madden

Skiing and snowboarding have become the most popular winter activities in Korea over the past few years. Resorts have sprung up all over Gangwando (the province just south of the DMZ on the East Coast) and Gyeonggido (the province surrounding Seoul). One of the most popular, High One, has buses that leave Ulsan in the wee hours of the morning, giving you the full day on the hill before returning home in the evening. Read the article here to find out how to book such a trip.

Eden Valley's main run, with the beginners' magic carpet on the right, and the one Advanced run in the back

But if you don’t have time (or the inclination) to head so far away, Ulsan is lucky enough to have a small ski hill about an hours drive away. Eden Valley (에덴 밸리 리조트 스키 장) is located just outside of Yangsan, a small, industrial city between here and Busan, in the Yeongnam Alps. The hills are just big enough to give you a nice little run on skis or snowboards, and with 3 lifts in operation, you have plenty of time to get in lots of runs. It is not an exciting hill, and there are not a wide variety of slopes, but as a place to go for a day, or evening, out, it’s really not too bad.

They currently have some excellent offers for discounts with various credit cards point systems, like the BC card, offering up to 30% off during the week, which makes a 4-hour lift pass and rental package about 50,000 won total.

The lift passes come in 4 time packages, including a Once Only pass, which I don’t think I’ve seen before other than on Gondolas. There is a 4-hour pass (09:30-13:30, 13:00 – 17:00, 19:00 – 23:00 or 22:00 – 02:00), a half-day or half-night pass (11:00 – 17:00 or 21:00-02:00), and a full day pass (09:30-17:00, 13:00-17,00+19:00-21:30 or 19:00 – 02:00).

From the top of the beginner-intermediate runs, looking at the 2nd peak with a beginner and an advanced run

As you can see from the pictures, and from looking out your windows, there’s not a lot of natural snow this far south, though the Yeongnam Alps do get a bit. Eden Valley is pretty much entirely man-made snow, though I was rather impressed by the quality when I went. It does tend to develop icy patches, especially at the top of a hill where nervous beginners have scraped the soft stuff way, but overall it was chopped up a fair bit, and wasn’t too bad. It’s no powder, of course, but all things considered, it’s good enough to have some fun on.

Apparently "Saturn" sounds like "Satan" in phonetic Korean...

Being next to Busan, the hill can get rather crowded on weekends, so if possible, try to go during the week. We managed a day during the New Year’s holidays, and it was a great time – ski down the hills and right onto the lifts! We tried a night ski on a Friday night, however, and not only was the BC card discount only 10% rather than 30%, but the lineups were much longer, and the crowds on the bottom half of the run were not as much fun to deal with.

They do have a hotel, but considering the size and proximity to Ulsan, if you’re looking for a Korean ski holiday, I’d say head up to High One or Yongpyong (host of the 2018 Winter Olympics) instead.

From the top of the Advanced run, looking toward the resort hotel

From Ulsan, head to Yangsan, either on the Express Highway, or on Hwy 35 from Eonyang. Then take local road 1077 up over the mountains. There are a few signs to follow, but weaving through Yangsan can be a little confusing. Take a GPS if possible. The coordinates are 35.428295, 128.984885 , or you can search for Eden Valley Resort, Yangsan. https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zzMJS5aJ6j04.kF0G7oHmSmMM

There is a shuttle bus from the Yangsan subway station, and there are Ulsan city buses that run to Yangsan, but it may be a bit of an epic journey to get there by public transit. If you know of an easy way, please, leave a comment, or tell me on Facebook!

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