Friday, February 10, 2012

IEC Muju ski/snowboard trip

Last Saturday I went snowboarding (sort of) with a group of people from church. I actually had this post ready Sunday night, but was waiting for some pictures from other people. There are still a few I'd like to have, but I'm posting this anyways because it's been almost a week with no new post. I decided to go kind of last minute, mainly because I liked all the people going and wanted to hang out with them. I didn't really want to go skiing or snowboarding. I've previously tried both to semi-disastrous ends and since I am in worse shape now than when I made my prior attempts, it wasn't really something on my to-do list in Korea. But, like I said, I wanted to go hang out with these people, plus there were a few others who didn't want to ski or snowboard either, so I decided to go. We piled in a van and drove about 2 hours to Muju. I've written about it before because Jeff skied there once and I went with him the day before to look at it.

In the van on the way up, I basically got talked into it/talked myself into it. We got a decent discount that included a half day pass, board and gear (pants, jacket, goggles). Plus Dan (one of the guys with us) told us that he would be willing to teach some of us newbies how to do it. The first issue was clothing. I am not Korean sized. They did have clothes that fit me, they were just unusual. More unusual than other people's - plaid pink and purple pants, mixed with a camo hunting jacket. It was pretty stylin'.
Me and Heather at the bottom of the slope. That's my outfit - plaid pants and camo jacket.
Add some red gloves and bam  - stylin'

After getting geared up, we drove up to the resort area where the slopes are. We had lunch in a group and then Jamie, Olivia (the baby) and Corinne split off from the rest of us because they weren't skiing or snowboarding. They ended up walking around a lot and sledding. We walked back down to the van to get our boots on and then to get our boards/skis.

The next issue was walking in boots. I tried on my right boot before I left the store, but didn't try on the left because I figured they were the same size, and if anything, my right foot would be bigger than my left. I was wrong. I had to shove to get my left foot in the boot and later lost feeling in my baby toe for about an hour. It's fine now, but that lesson is learned - try on BOTH boots.

It's semi crowded at Muju, but luckily we decided to go to the west side because that's where we had to pick up our boards. That side was less crowded than the other side. The slope itself wasn't too bad, but the area around the lifts was quite crowded. The bunny slope is basically the end of the intermediate slope and that's where we started (and I ended). Dan and his co-teacher Ducky (that's what he told us to call him) tried to help me and Heather snowboard. We were able to get the boards on our feet and that's pretty much where I was done. I am not athletic enough, flexible enough or in good enough shape to snowboard. I pretty much can't get up without a lot of effort or a hand from someone else. And when you fall on your butt in 5 seconds, all that effort feels wasted. The only semi-redeeming thing was that plenty of Koreans around us couldn't get up either.
Brandon giving a basic lesson to Amy and Ilani. Dan's about to teach us how to fall.
Crowds at the bottom waiting for a lift
Conveyor belt up the slope. This was for the smaller bunny hill. The lift took you further up the same slope.
Heather hanging out and me and Ducky in the background - I'm standing!
Conveyor belt - bunny slope
Lift - intermediate on same hill
Gondola - further up the same hill some more
Ducky and Dan stayed with us for awhile and held our hands so we wouldn't fall to try and show us basic techniques. I can actually do some of that, but when I fall, I'm pretty much down. So I made about a minute "run" and then butt scooted/attempted several ways to get up/slid down the rest of the hill. Heather was having the same problems until we saw a different way to stand - grab the board and push at the same time. I tried it, but my arms aren't long enough to reach the board and flat behind me. It took 2 hours for Heather and I to get down the first time and that was enough for me. Ilani tried to ski and lasted even shorter than me and ended up walking down the hill. We were going to switch boots so she could try to board and I would ski, but mine were too tight and hers were a bit loose, so we watched people. Heather made a second run and did much better until she fell on her face and while she went down the rest of the slope, she was done. It was kind of sad that Jamie and Corinne were in a totally separate area (they were on the east slopes because that's where the resort is) because we would have met up with them and gone sledding or something.
How I looked most of the day - on my butt

Luckily it was a good day for the rest of the group. Dan met up with one of his co-workers and after showing us a few things, Heather and I told him to take off and have fun. So they got quite a few runs in. Brandon knows how to ski, but hadn't been for 15 years. Luckily, he got right back into it and was able to show Amy, who was a first-timer, how to do it. Ilani couldn't pick it up, but Amy did and was even able to get an intermediate run in before we left. Jungwha and Heejin met up with a friend of theirs from school and took off right after we got there. We met up with them at the end of the day, but they said they had fun.

Brandon on the ski lift

Girls after skiing/boarding

Using pressurized air to blow snow off your equipment. Everyone was doing it.

We all piled back in the van and drove 2 hours home, with a pit stop at a rest area for dinner and coffee. I really need to take a picture of a rest area because Koreans know how to do a rest area. They have massage chairs, food, really nice and clean toilets, nursing areas, gifts shops etc. We got back a little after 8 but everyone was starting to feel sore and tired so we all went home. I am glad that I decided to give snowboarding another try. Now I can for sure say I don't like it. I do think I will try skiing again at some point in the future, but hopefully somewhere where I can't run over dozens of little children and with someone to pull me like this kid:
Little girl being pulled down the hill by her brother
Frozen lake outside of the resort

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations for giving it a try! Really like the outfit.