The Korea Herald


[Weekender] Don’t let the cold stop you: indoor winter sports

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Dec. 20, 2018 - 13:04

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As the temperature drops, it becomes harder to get out of bed. The cold is particularly taxing for sports enthusiasts because tense muscles could make them more susceptible to injuries. Don’t even mention the biting cold and the ear-numbing winds.

But for sporty souls, the cold is but a minor hurdle, as some skiers, snowboarders and skaters opt to enjoy their favorite winter sports in a cozy indoors environment.

For adrenaline addicts who hate the cold, there are sports facilities that bring the excitement indoors while leaving the coldness outdoors.

Skiing without shivering

Gliding down slopes on skis and snowboards is undoubtedly exciting. But sitting on a dangling lift while being slapped in the face by strong winds is not much fun -- not to mention the long drive and heavy traffic on the way to ski resorts.

For city-styled skiers and snowboarders, the sports complex Woongjin Playdosi in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, operates indoor ski slopes. The sports hub is an hour’s drive southwest of central Seoul.
Indoor ski slope at Woonjin Playcity in Bucheon (Woongjin Playcity) Indoor ski slope at Woonjin Playcity in Bucheon (Woongjin Playcity)

The ski-park section, called Snowdosi, has a 270-meter-long, 70-meter-wide ski slope -- not small in size compared with those at modest ski resorts here. The 11-degree slope is shared by beginners and intermediate skiers. Another slope for advanced skiers has a 15-degree angle.

Though there isn’t a half-pipe structure, the advanced slope comes with kickers, allowing skiers and snowboarders to practice jumping.

In terms of excitement, the slope is rather short and narrow without many variations compared to those of well-furnished ski resorts.

But here is the best part: You don’t have to fight the cold while dangling on a lift.

The ski slopes are equipped with a moving belt, like those seen at large supermarkets or shopping malls. Moving at a speed of 3 kilometers per hour, the ride takes skiers to the top of the slopes in a few minutes.

The ski-park section operates all year round, going against the flow of seasons. It has ski schools for children, too.

Gliding on ice all year round

Korea has swept medals at the Winter Olympics when it comes to speedskating or shorttrack events. Those who hope to become the next national heroes may give the ice a whirl at indoor skating rinks.

As the holiday season approaches, an ice rink is set up every year in front of the City Hall in Seoul. While the skates, the ice and some hot chocolate make a beautiful holiday picture, the reality is -- it’s freezing cold.

An indoor ice rink is freezing, too, to keep the ice from melting. But at least, one can escape from the cold while taking a rest and eating snacks. Also, as ice rinks are cleaned every hour, skaters do not have to shiver in the cold wind while waiting. 

Skaters glide on ice at Lotte World Ice Rink in eastern Seoul. (Lotte Adventure) Skaters glide on ice at Lotte World Ice Rink in eastern Seoul. (Lotte Adventure)

Moreover, the sport is highly accessible. For instance, Lotte World Ice Rink is at the heart of Jamsil, a 30-minute drive east from central Seoul. Connected to Subway Line No. 2, the rink is frequented by families and those who seek to enjoy winter sports while staying in the city.

The 2,076-square-meter ice rink allows skaters of all age groups to roam freely and test their speed and strength.

By Im Eun-byel (