[Weekender] Outdoor sports head indoors with technology

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jun 2, 2017 - 19:08
  • Updated : Jun 2, 2017 - 19:08

Although it can be difficult to find a way to be active during the scorching summer, it has become easier to find indoor alternatives.

In this densely populated and busy country, the sports industry is catering to those who want to stay fit and blow off steam with activities that are free from weather or space constraints.

Although the spaces may not be as roomy as outdoor sports facilities, indoor sports such as screen golf, indoor fishing and snowboarding have been gaining ground here through technology.

Art Climbing (Sports Monster)

As the country rides the worldwide wave of virtual reality, there are now venues to virtually ski, bowl, play tennis and even go horseback riding. And they’re opening in all manner of places.

For example, UrbanSlope, a virtual reality facility that opened last year in Gangnam, Seoul, offers users realistic slope conditions and settings for downhill skiing. In April 2015, Korea’s first archery cafe Fivics opened in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, where people can enjoy coffee and shoot arrows at the same time.

A growing number of indoor rock climbing facilities such as Rock Star Climbing that specializes in bouldering, located in Gangnam, southern Seoul, could be another option for this summer. 

Rope course (Sports Monster)

Even horseback riding, often considered an exclusive sport, is available indoors at Ok Sports Club in Sinsa-dong, Seoul. Customers can ride on animatronic horses and control their speed and direction, with a screen that shows a virtual green field in front of them.

Sports Monster, a sports and entertainment theme park that opened on the top floor of Starfield Hanam mall in Gyeonggi Province, last September, is a place for those who want to experience a throwback to their childhood or play all kinds of sports under one roof.

In the spacious venue of about 5,290 square meters, Sports Monster welcomes people of all ages and abilities, regardless of the group size. With over 30 sports content and rooms with high-definition screens for handball, bike racing, gunning, soccer and taekwondo, it allows gamers to play, compete and have a blast with friends, family and even co-workers.

The theme park’s signature offerings include Art Climbing, an indoor rock-climbing center where the walls are covered with colorful boulders that form pictures of space invaders and other things. It also has trampolines that can send energetic jumpers up to 4 meters in the air, and a rope course 6.5 meters above the ground. 

Bike racing (Sports Monster)

“Our customers range from little kids to a group of old men who visit the place to play darts,” said a staff of Sports Monster.

“We are also seeing a growing number of foreign visitors and they find this place very interesting because it is rare to find such well-made sports complex,” the staff said.

For 23,000 won, visitors to Sports Monster can try their hand at virtual reality sports for two hours. Annual memberships are also available.

By Hong Dam-young (