- 01 February 2014
I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I pulled into the little town of Suanbo in the Korea countryside on the eve of a special celebration like Seollal. So I was pleasantly surprised to find Suanbo busy and a hive of activity. The main drag was illuminated with coloured lights arranged in fabulous displays, food stalls were selling Korean hotdogs and roasted chestnuts and people where everywhere! What a buzz!
And there was plenty more kitsch to add to the light show, by way of restaurants proudly displaying their local specialities through plastic recreations! It didn't take long to work out the dish of the day had something to do with pheasants and crazy looking fungi. As with most social events in Korea, these celebrations seemed to centre around large groups of families and food. Lots of food. And everyone looked to be having a great time.
The morning of Day 11 took me to the ski resort of Sajo or Suanbo Resort, as I was later to discover, another that some of my Korean counterparts from Seoul had not heard of. What do they say? Never judge a book by it's cover. My first impressions of Sajo were that it was a little tired. But who I am to judge, eh? As I went off for a wander around, I saw lots of families hanging out, having fun, smiling and laughing. Definitely the smallest resort I have seen so far (wait, didn't I say that a couple of days ago?) (yes, this one is smaller) the lower altitude and warmer weather also meant snow conditions were pretty poor. Only half the runs were open and those that were, the snow was slushy and grey. This place could do with a bit of a facelift and on this day it could also have done with a bit more snow or a cooler front to let the snowguns work their magic.
But not everything is about good snow or flash resorts, is it? Suanbo Resort had it's own special something - an abundance of happiness. People were so friendly and helpful as I walked around. And the folks on the mountainy were just happy to be here skiing with their friends and families. It could have been the holiday spirit or the cool Kpop blasting from the speakers. It could have been the bright colours that adorned the resort, complete with the fake fluro orange palm trees adorning the entrance.
As Day 11 draws to a close, I've suddenly realised. We've done it! Suanbo Sajo Resort was No. 14 on the list! We've hit our target ahead of schedule, driven hundreds of kilometres across Korea and smashed 14 SKI RESORT in 14 DAYS in 2014.
But wait, there's more! We're not just going to stop here, stop now with 3 days to spare. What am I, nuts? You bet I am! This afternoon I pointed our trusty Jeep Cherokee south-west towards the ski resort of Muju Deogyusan Resort, about 2hours from here. I've heard so much about Muju so I can't wait to check it out. So tomorrow we will be at Day 12 and now on ski resort No. 15. We've only got 3 days left in this beautiful country so if you're around, come say hi!