Traveling out to Asia isn’t easy for everyone to pull off, but with bucket-list ski and snowboard locations like Korea and Japan, skiers and riders might need to make the choice of which destination is better for them to splurge on.

Japan offers perhaps the best powder in the world and some of the most aesthetic tree-lined slopes imaginable. Korea offers equally challenging slopes with an incredible resort feel. It can be quite a choice for a skier or rider to make.


Ski Japan's Incredible Powder

Japan is often at the top of bucket-list ski destinations, and the primary reason is the incredible powder. Many of the now 600 ski resorts in Japan average more than 50 feet of snow per winter. Japan’s powder isn’t just normal snow. It is super light, dry, and fun for travelers to ski or ride on.

The scientific explanation for why Japan’s powder is superior is because winds from Siberia collect a large amount of moisture while transiting across the Sea of Japan. It releases over the mountains of Japan, creating some truly inspiring powder.

Related: Dos & Don'ts When Staying At Japan's Traditional Ryokans

Hakuba Ski Resort

Hakuba Valley ski resort is a bastion for powder and is located in the heart of what is referred to as the Japanese Alps. A three-hour drive from downtown Tokyo, and the host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Hakuba is both a popular and renowned destination. The valley actually contains a variety of slopes which give skiers and riders an awesome variety of alpine terrain. During the week, the resort nearly empties out, making it a great time for travelers to visit.

  • Season - December-April
  • Elevation - 1,831m (6007)
  • Average Snow - 11m (36-ft)
  • Lifts - 5 Gondolas | 138 Lifts
  • Terrain - 30% Beginner / 40% Intermediate / 30% Expert
  • Park - Available
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Niseko Ski Resort

Officially ranked the best snow resort in Hokkaido, Niseko Ski Resort is just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Chitose Airport and Hokkaido’s nearby capital, Sapporo. Comprised of the four interlinked ski resorts, Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village, and An’nupuri, Niseko Ski Resort provides consistent quality powder conditions to its visitors. On average, Niseko Ski Resort can expect over 15 meters of snow each season.

  • Season - December-April
  • Elevation - 1,308m
  • Average Snow - 15m+ (49-ft)
  • Lifts - 3 Gondolas | 30 Lifts
  • Terrain - 30% Beginner / 40% Intermediate / 30% Expert
  • Park - Available
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Experience The Slopes And Resorts Of Korea

Travelers to Korea looking to experience the best skiing the country has to offer should visit Gangwon-do province. It is located in the eastern part of the country. It is extremely well known for having superb snow conditions and can usually expect snow as early as November.

Gangwon-do province boasts the largest concentration of ski resorts in Korea. Many were selected as important venues for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Top-grade facilities are offered here, along with inspiring vistas that make the journey worth it.

Related: Escape The Summer Heat By Spending 1 Week In Hokkaido Japan

Yongpyong Ski Resort

Yongpyong Ski Resort is the largest in Korea. This means a variety of terrain and something for all ability levels. This ski resort has the added fame of having appeared in a couple of Korean dramas, “Winter Sonata (KBS, 2002)” and “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (TVN, 2016)”. However, it is hard to beat Yongoyong Ski Resort, the main venue for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The resort is divided into four different zones Silver, Gold, Red, and Dragon. The slopes are relatively narrow, which can, at times, be challenging for beginner snowboarders.

  • Silver Zone - Green Circle
  • Red Zone - Blue Square
  • Gold Zone - Black Diamond
  • Dagon Zone - Double Black Diamond
  • Location - Pyeongchang
  • Travel time from Seoul - 3.5 hrs
  • Number of slopes - 28
  • Number of ski lifts - 13 ski lifts & 1 gondola
  • Closing Month - March
  • Indoor & Outdoor amenities - Sauna, spa, screen golf, bowling alley, karaoke, fitness center, arcade, billiard hall, golf club, children’s theme park, hiking path, survival game park, zip line
  • Annual Snowfall - 250 centimeters
  • Best for - Skiers than snowboarders, all levels of skiers & family-unit skiers
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Vivaldi Park Ski Resort

Vivaldi Park Ski Resort is known for adding a new facility every year while also being a trendsetter among resorts. Arguably, Vivaldi Park offers the best trails for challenging skill skiers and thrill-seeking teens and twenty-somethings. This resort was also the home to the Korean drama “The Legend of the Blue Sea (SBS, 2016),” starring Jun Ji-Hyun (Chung) and Lee Min-ho (Joon-Jae). The slopes here are known for being wide, and there are options for all skill levels.

  • Location - Hongcheon
  • Travel time from Seoul - 1.5 hrs
  • Number of slopes - 12
  • Number of ski lifts - 10 (including gondola)
  • Challenge Levels - 2 beginner, one intermediate, four upper-intermediate, four advanced, one expert slopes
  • Time - 8:30am until 5:00am
  • Ski-Lessons - Available
  • Must-try attractions in Vivaldi Park - Ocean World, a water park that offers a spa during winter
  • Indoor & Outdoor amenities - Arcade, shooting/screen shooting range, Kids World, ping-pong hall, bowling alley, sauna, internet café, beauty salon, karaoke, recreational forest trail, golf course
  • Some inconveniences - Long waiting time for lifts (at least 30 minutes) on weekends, long queue for beginner courses
  • Best for - Couples, students & young skiers in their 20s
  • Snowboarding facility - Extreme Park, a snow park specially designed for snowboarders
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