One does not simply ski into MordorAs I was walking from the smoking crater of Mt. Naka (中岳) towards the less-active Mt. Eboshi (烏帽子岳) (a possible inspiration for Lady Eboshi in Princess Mononoke), I happened across an abandoned ski field. While ski slopes clearly don’t rate as highly as hotels or amusement parks, the place was still interesting and (given the rate of decay) had clearly been abandoned for some time.

Walk or waitChairlift motor

Abandoned polesThe chair lift, severe rust aside, was more or less intact, though the chairs had all been piled inside the main building (presumably when the place was closed down,to prevent them falling off). All the rental equipment – skis, boots, sledges, clothing and so on – was still stacked neatly on the shelves, and the offices seemed to be completely intact (even down to tea-making equipment). It looked as though the place had been abandoned almost overnight, with no effort made to salvage anything useful or even retain the business records. I didn’t have enough time to check the place out properly, but it was a superb addition to an already fascinating day.

Abandoned chairsNo more rentals

The last cupWaiting to restart

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Last weekend was an orientation for the new students, and a few lucky staff were ferried out to the much-advertised Vivaldi Park along with hundreds of excitable freshers. The complex, a couple of hours out of Seoul near Hongcheon (홍천) is a sprawling mini-empire of ski slopes (4), swimming pools (several, all delightfully decked out with faux-ancient Egyptian and Atlantean ruins), hotel rooms (more under construction), spas (with hot springs) and golf courses (possibly only the one, plus some mini-golf). Most staff time was spent in relaxation (the student staff did the majority of the organisation), and so I attempted to get some winter sports photographs (only to find that my battery would freeze in under 10 minutes) and hiked the trails out to the (thankfully) undeveloped areas.

Ski World (7)Ski World (6)

Ski World (5)Ride me please

Ski World (4)Ski World (3)

Ski World (1)Ski World (2)

Frozen waterfallFrozen water wheel (3)

Frozen water wheel (1)Frozen water wheel (2)

Vivaldi trail (2)Vivaldi trail (1)