Battling the cold in true winter fashion

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 23, 2015 - 22:08
  • Updated : Jan 25, 2015 - 10:57
While the plummeting temperatures cause some people to rush indoors and shield themselves from the icy breath of winter, for some this is the best time to head outside and dabble in what the icy waters and snowy landscapes have to offer.

Whether it’s trudging through packed snow in the winter wilderness, literally chilling in a tent for a rugged night of camping, or grabbing a body suit and gloves to catch some arctic waves, the cold shouldn’t scare off those looking for a little winter adventure.

When most people think about surfing they picture the blue crush waves of the Hawaiian islands or the glistening paradise waters of Bali. Despite the below-freezing temperatures, winter surfing along the coasts of Korea is an activity enjoyed by a select brave few. 
A snow train passes through the gorge of Mount Taebaeksan. (Korail)

Unlike many tropical destinations where ocean waves are an all-year-long bliss, in Korea, winter is actually considered the best time for avid surfers to wax up their boards, as the crashing swells of the winter waves are incomparable to the more passive summer tides. And although the thought of basking in the wintry seas may seem like a death wish to some, insulated body suits and proper gloves and boots allow surfers to have a more “tolerably numbing” wave-riding venture.

For those seeking winter activities that don’t entail being doused in cold water, hiking and camping are also worthwhile options.

Why choose to camp or hike in the snow as opposed to waiting until the weather thaws? For those tough enough to battle the elements, more often than not, the picturesque snow-kissed scenery of Korea’s mountainous regions is reason enough.

Mount Taebaeksan is a popular destination for snow-bound hikers. Often referred to as the nation’s “holy mountain” because of the Cheonjedan Altar located near its peak, the mountain range stretches from Taebaek, Gangwon Province, to Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang Province. The snow-covered, frosty forest backdrop is what attracts many hikers, both novice and experienced, to Mount Taebaeksan in the winter.

Not too coincidentally, the colder weather also tends to mean fewer crowds, which is often considered one of the many perks of pitching a tent on the snow and camping out in the calm, quiet wilderness. Luckily enough, a slew of campsites across the nation offer camping enthusiasts all the equipment and camping space needed to ensure a pleasant overnight stay.

By Julie Jackson (

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