Alternative ski destinations and culture shock on the slopes

So the other day Sharon wrote about some ski chalets, including catered ski chalets in la Rosiere. I’ve only been to ski resorts in Korea, but I hear they can be pretty different from ski resorts in Europe or North America.

First, artificial snow is the norm in Korea. It’s normal to go to a ski resort and find only artificial snow. Many skiers prefer natural powder snow to crunchy and damp man-made snow. I’m not sure if that’s because skiers are used to natural powder or if there really is a significant difference.

Second, the mountains in South Korea are relatively low. The four resorts hosting events for the 2018 Winter Olympics are 700-1500 meters above sea level. The terrain is not as steep as many Americans would expect.

Third, even though the terrain is not above the tree line, tree skiing is not an option. Chain fences line all the slopes

Fourth, much attention was paid to entertaining non-skiers. Typical attractions include water parks and shopping centers. The government owned High 1 Resort has a casino (the only casino in Korea in which Koreans are allowed to play – all other casinos are for foreigners only).

I’m not sure these cultural differences will last forever. Korea may try to westernize in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics to Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang and three other resorts all within half an hour (including the High 1 Resort mentioned above). Although I don’t think they’ll be importing natural snow or changing the incline of their mountains.

So given the many possible cultural differences, I searched the web for ski culture shock and similar terms. I found a few interesting things I’d like to share with you now.

Japan

Unlike Korea, Japan is known for natural powder. Also, if you check out the video below around 2:30, you’ll see trees, which would be off limits in Korea.

Kashmir India

This video seems to show untouched snow, white and powdery. Skiing through forest looks amazing. Then around 2 minutes in, very close to the end of the video, there’s a shot where the skiers are on a road. They pass a truck going the other way. Maybe that’s where the culture shock mentioned in the video title comes from. I can’t imagine skiers and vehicles sharing the road.

China

Long slopes and slow lifts. They interview tourists who say the skiing in this Chinese resort is comparable to America, Canada, and Swedish skiing.

And I believe the Atlai Mountains are also in China. If someone wanted a really different ski experience, they might try skiing uphill (or down) with a single pole.

In conclusion, it seems there are a lot of different ski experiences to be had in Asia. From resorts to country skiing, lots of culture awaits skiers willing to travel. Where would you go for a ski holiday?

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