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Topic ClosedMuju Korea (review)

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Muju Korea (review)
    Posted: Dec/26/2009 at 7:11pm
Know of any good places to ride? Korea is definitely not on anyones priority list, but since i live here i might as well start reviewing the place :) Feel free to add your own observations, i know theres a few gyopos out there :) Anyway, itll probably just be me, and since high1 and pyeongchang are a bit out of reach for me (i live 30km south of gwangju and my holidays will be spent in japan), itll also be probably this post until i get round to them. But anyway, heres a bit of a review on muju.


Where: Muju Resort
Muju Resort Map
When: 26th December, SATURDAY, BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND.
Cost: Pretty pricey. 70,000 won for a day pass (8am to 4.30pm). Since ive spent all my time in japan, this is close to extorionate. Apparently though if you pay by a korean bank card you can get discounts knocking it down to the low 50s. Never done it myself, so dont know if its true. Anyway: Rates
Snow Conditions: No real snow hits muju. Its cold, but doesnt have much precipitation generally. Mostly man made with a smattering of real snow. Generally icy up top, with groomed soft wet artificial stuff down the bottom.
Resort Conditions: About 70% of the runs were open. Mainly the runs up top (polka, mozart, allegro and half of cadenza) were closed at the time. Id say theyre about a week away from being open though.
Other info: The one run in mansun base that goes to the top was skier only. Ridiculous. Also two tier lift system in operation. Normal and fast track. Pay for fast track and you have a 2 minute wait, pay for normal and chorus (seolcheon base)and liner (mansun base) lifts are a 20 minute queue. If you plan on riding these two a lot, buy a priority ticket.
Resort facilities:Koreas biggest resort has 1, get this, ONE shop for snow gear. It sells a few beanies, a couple of jackets, some goggles, and a few helmets. Its pretty small. No wax too which annoyed the crap out of me - gwangju has none so was hoping i could get some and a scraper here. Not a chance.
Has plenty of restaurants (dolmios, popeyes, lotteria, and plenty of korean typical ski resort fodder) though, so you wont go hungry :).

Review: Started off pretty poor. Tried to ride the gondola only to realise no one was carrying skis or a board. Apparently the early morning (9am) gondolas are for foot passengers only. Decided id avoid the queues and go to mansun base. Spent most of the morning there and genuinely disliked it. There were a couple of nice steeps to play on, but the lift queues to ride them were atrocious and the lifts themselves were ridiculously slow. 25-30 minutes spent in a queue and on a lift for a three or four minute run just wasnt worth it. So switched to the other lifts. First one was skier only for no explicable reason. It didnt help matters that it was the only lift that took you to the black runs. The other lifts werent that bad, rode them, but the terrain was simple beginner stuff, nice wide and flat. BY this point i was desperate for a decent ride, so went and grabbed lunch then switched back to seolcheon base.

I couldnt beleive what i was seeing. So MANY people. Id seen it on their webcam, but seeing it in real life was something else. Went to ride the gondola (saw people with boards and skis so figure it was open). Apparently my odiously expensive ticket didnt cover it :/ so went the chorus lift. Like the liner over at mansun, this lift queue was hellish. Definitely 20 minutes plus. Decided id had enough at this point. One more run and then i was sitting in the cafe for the rest of the day while i waited for my bus home. Eventually got to the top of the lift and noticed there was a connecting lift right next to it so figured id at least have a decentish last run on the silk road. Then a strange thing happened. Suddenly i was faced with wide open runs with no people on it. Also they were pretty steep. Finally! some decent runs.

Got to the top and was met with surprise number two. The view was breathtaking. It seems like there was probably an old temple or wayhouse thats been converted into a restaurant, i mean sacrilege and all that but its a nice touch and after a day of frustration it definitely helped lighten my mood. Suddenly the whole people on foot thing made a bit mroe sense. Theres a trail for people to hike up to, and plenty of families were doing it. It certainly gave muju something unique that ive seen nowhere else. :)

Anyways, went back on the trail, and spent the afternoon enjoying the open runs. Definitely some decent quality red runs. Nothing particularly special though. Its a good five or so minute ride with a few decent steeps. Only here you have the entire run to yourself. No one comes up to the top, which was a complete relief. If nothing else, you could do some serious charging :) And so long as you stayed on the harmony lift, you could literally hop straight back on the lift and do it again.
The top of the silk run was also nice for a bit of variation. Its like a nice wide path, with some good twists and turns. Definitely fun to just ride some ground tricks. A bit busier than the steeper runs, but nowhere near as bad as the lower half of the mountain.

After a few hours, decided i was getting tired and the light was getting a little tough to see the terrain and what with it being solid ice underneath, didnt fancy cracking my knee, so headed back down. As soon as i crossed the harmony lift line and started heading down to the base i was met with a wall of people. It was utter chaos. Ski patrol are everywhere just trying to keep some kind of order. When i got to the base i couldnt help but laugh. It was nuts. If id have stayed there for even one more run, guaranteed i would have gone home :)

Overall, the best advice is this: if you come to muju get on the chorus lift EARLY. Then ride that bad boy to harmony. Stay above the harmony line and youll have an alright day. Nothing special, but its decent quality. If i was honest id say its half a day of fun in truth since all the lines youll run seem to intersect so it will get a bit repetitive after a while. But if youre with some people you can probably find some stuff to do to keep you entertained. Theyll probably have the park up in a while, but from what i saw (a couple of rails and a small kicker), i wouldnt be too hopeful. Theres a halfpipe marked on the trail map, but saw no sign of it so its probably a long way off :)

Anyways, heres some pictures to give you a sense of the place:


Mansun base, riding the yacht lift i believe.



Seolcheon 12pm, first view of the proper crowds.



The cadenza line. Closed at the minute, but looks pretty close to opening. The line i rode comes from bottom left. No pictures of it mind because i didnt think at the time id be writing this review :) Important to note though, even on the inbounds trail, NO PEOPLE!!! :) also if you look middle leftish you can see the minuet steep i believe.



Shrine at the top of muju.



The view at the top <3



3pm seolcheon base after having ridden through thousands of people already :) Ridiculous crowd. Avoid!



My MSpaint edited trail map :)


Anyway, hope this helps give you a sense of the place. Its by no means amateurish as i thought it might be, and the lifts dont in fact close en masse at 12 for lunch. The fake snow is actually kinda nice if a little sticky, and beats the crap out of ice (though you will feel the ice any time you wipe, thats for fekkin sure :)). Its surprisingly alright once you get out of the crowds, in fact since you have the runs to yourself, its pretty awesome for a while. The bottom half is trash, as is mansun base, but the top half of seolcheon is definitely at least good solid quality if you happen to be in the area. Definitely up there with most of the stuff ive played on in japan. Its a pity its technically so small once you rule out the bottom half and mansun, but itll do for a day trip :)

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2009 at 7:04am
omg, that crowd is redonkulous.  Must be an asian/cultural thing. Most Japanese surfers tend to be similar...they all crowd at one easy spot, when the next even better sandbar down the beach is left empty.

Seems like a pretty big mountain for all artificial snow (can't imagine how much all those guns must have cost).  Looks bigger than Bear in socal...but, unfortunately, muju is about 3k ft lower elevation

If they do get dumped on, there would be so much good tree runs...especially that valley part in the middle that isn't even clear-cut.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2009 at 4:16pm
Japan boarding is alright. Cut my teeth all last year at myoko and the longest lift queue i saw was 2 minutes (aside of course the first thing in the morning lift at ikenotaira - its a two seater and the only lift that gets you to the lift up top). Definitely a korea thing. I havent ever seen crowds like that, and ive been in hakuba when the place is swarming with aussies. I have to assume the valley in the middle is a run, but its strange they dont seem to mark it as one. Also, trees are so compact and between it theres so much crap. I could only see it being a decent run if it gets a dump of a few meters in truth to cover up all the gnarly brush around the trees. I doubt all the snow machines in the world are making that happen on muju. Plus patrol seems really hardcore. Theyre literally everywhere whistling and checking tickets. Not to mention that every out of bounds area is pretty much fenced off with a 6 or 7 foot mesh fence. They really want you to stay on the runs there by the looks of it :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2009 at 4:28pm
sounds bogus (but making me feel like a king riding here in the sierra nevada)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2009 at 4:30pm
Thanks for the review. Any idea if High1 or Pyeongchang are any better?
 
One of these days I'll make it to Korea during the winter (I've only gone back a handful of times and always under the sweltering summer sun) and wonder if it would even be worth it to take my decks.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/27/2009 at 5:08pm
high1 seems to be the place to go in korea from what ive read, but its absolutely out of the question for me because its so far, unless i have some definite holiday time to spend on it. As i say, ill be burning all my vacation this year in japan, so unlikely ill get to it. But ive heard nothing but (relatively speaking to the other places in korea of course), good things about it.

PS. If you want a good laugh, watch the webcams at around 3 or 4pm korea time this weekend. Expect insanity :)

cam page
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/12/2010 at 5:37am
whee, im bumping this because i laughed at my mspaint map :) Plus i reckon im gonna add a nozawa review, so its nice having these things not falling off the end of the internets :)

Oh and if anyone with powers can move it to the international section instead of this one id love ya!

Oh and over the year with some various trips, i eventually got to ride all of the runs. Theres some definite heavy duty terrain, like serious gnarly steeps. the only trouble is no matter how awesome the steep is (and theres some damn nice steeps) its all a bit short really :/ youre talking about a two or three minute run, and well, thats not really going to keep someone stoked for too long.

At the end of the season they also let snowboarders on that black slope up top of mansun. Its sorta steep, kinda maybe could qualify as a red run i guess, theres narrow bits for sure, its twisty and turny in parts, and yeah, some nice bursts of steep. Apparently its 'too dangerous' for snowboarders in normal season. I guess by that they mean snowboarder idiots cluttering up the run parked on their ass when it isnt really wide enough to handle it and theres a few blindish corners, so i guess they just mean snowboarders are a danger to themselves :)

What else? Hmmm, it beats not riding, it beats indoor, but its still kinda lame :) It didnt redeem itself at any point throughout the season and i can only imagine it got worse during teh school holidays for people while i was busy mucking around in niseko powder. Those crowds are still hysterically funny :)

I think this year muju will be somewhere i go when i cant be assed going to high1. But its looking likely that high1 is top of the list. Cant wait to blast that place in a review as well :p   

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/12/2010 at 5:45am
that place looks pretty cool. Iv never seen a shrine at the top of a mountain haha
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/20/2010 at 10:31pm
awesome review! i hope one day ill get to board international!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/21/2010 at 7:24pm
hehe, but if you do id strongly advise you skip muju unless you happen to find yourself in and around the south of south korea :)

One nice thing is that the season starts pretty early though because its artificial snow until around january :)



WOW!!! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES ALL THE SNOW FELL EXACTLY ON TEH RUNS AND NOWHERE ELSE!!!

<3 muju :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/21/2010 at 7:57pm
Well from the problems you described i don't think i'll be visiting there anytime soon. Looks like a beautiful place though =)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/02/2010 at 5:57am
I love to go Muju Resort and any other korean Snowboard resort.
I heard many good things about korea. I wish one day i will ride my burton board in Korea.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct/02/2010 at 12:34am
I just saw ur post and man I can't believe how many people there were in the pics!!!
I've only ever ridden in japan and even at the busy resorts have never seen lines like that!!!
What are the popular resorts like in US/Canada ect? Anyone ever seen anything else like that?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct/02/2010 at 1:31am
i doubt youll ever see anything like that. Muju is pretty much the closest mountain for a tonne of people, but its not big by any means. If you want a laugh, wait until december and january then pop on the muju resort cams and just stare in AWE at how many people are there. It's a good old fashioned clusterfucck,

And this was nothing on the week after.

I remember coming across from mansun to sulcheon or whetever theyre called (the skiers left hand side of the mountain to the right hand side with the gondola), and what i saw had me gobsmacked. You weren't just talking a lot of people, you were talking about phalanxes of people. Every lift queue was around 40 people wide and about 200 deep. It was mindblowing! I wish i took a picture of it.
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