There are winter festivals everyone wants to go in winter when white snowflakes blowing all over the place and slippery ice patches on the ground. The Sapporo snow festival that pure white snow piles up to your height and the Harbin Ice lantern Festival where colorful lanterns of sculptures made of Soonghwa River ice are lit.
If you cannot afford a trip overseas, there is also a good place to travel in Korea. Ice festival is in full swing these days in Vivaldi Park in Hongcheon-gun, Gangwon province, just like Harbins ice lantern festival is performed here. You can feel pure and true nature on the endless all-white snowfield.
Worlds Historical Structures in One Place-
Hongcheons Vivaldi Park is the ski resort closest to Seoul among those located in Gangwon province. The resort set up some 150 miniature of famous structures in the world and about 200 murals, all of which are made of 10,000 lumps of ice, each of which weighing more than 100kg.
These ice works are placed inside of tunnel dome (330m long), which stretches for about 12,000㎡ (4,000 pyong). The interior is divided into six sections. The sections represent the prehistoric age, ancient times, the Middle Ages, contemporary and modern times, Palmyra, and the Fantasy World. In the prehistoric section, the exhibition includes Moai stone statues, Stonehenge, the Venus of Willendorf, and dolmens. The ancient times booth has Abu Simbel, the pyramids, sphinxes, obelisks, Petras great temple, the Colosseum, and the statue of Augustus.
The medieval section display Taj Mahal, Himeji Castle, Angkor Wat, Saint Sophia Cathedral, and Michelangelos David. Contemporary and modern creations include Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Triumphal Arch, Eiffel Tower, Harbor Bridge, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, Opera House in Sydney, Namsan Tower, Bulguksa (a Buddhist temple), the nine-storied wooden pagoda of Hwangnyongsa (a Buddhist temple), and other exhibits.
Another imitation is Palmyra located in the midst of a Syrian desert. In the Fantasy World section, you can wish yourself luck, throwing a coin into the Fountain of Trevi and slide on the ice version of the Great Wall of China (33 m) for fun.
Various Entertainment on Ice-
When you pass the entrance, an ice tunnel appears to your left. It is a miniature tunnel of less than five meters long and you have to stoop down to pass through, but its unique feature is not only a must for children but also for adults. The same goes for the igloo beside it. You feel cozy once you get in there.
Looking closely at the ice sculptures, the shape of ice are of all sorts. The bubbles generated when freezing the ice are beautiful as if they are squirming coral reefs. It takes an hour and 20 minutes to look carefully at all the sculptures.
When you are finished appreciating the ice sculptures, you can enjoy many entertainment activities from top spinning, traditional sledding, ice bowling, and ice sculpture building on an outdoor swimming pool-turned-into-ice rinks. In particular, curling, a sport that uses the handle attached at the top of the round and flat shaped curling stone to slide the stone to the center of the target circle, is one of the most popular activities among participants. Curling, which originated in Scotland in the early 16th century, is popular in Canada and the U.S. as well as in the Europe as recreation that anybody can enjoy.
From December 20, international folk festivals will be held, where you will be able to watch traditional folk performances by performers invited from all parts of the world.
Sleepless Ski Resort-
From last years winter, Vivaldi Park Ski World presented its slogan of Sleepless Ski Resort to open the resort 24 hours a day and has become one of the popular mecca for night skiing. The resort holds fireworks events every Saturday until late January next year, which adds to the festive mood.
The name of slopes are categorized into music genres such as Hip-hop, Ballad, Techno, Classical, and Jazz, which fascinates users who can choose the course depending on their music tastes. Also, dog sleighs are available at the bottom of the ski resort. On the other end of the resort, a food court is there to serve you hot soup and sweet potatoes fresh from the campfire, which is good to warm you up.
If you subscribe to the Daemyung Condo website (www.daemyungcondo.com), you can get a 20 to 30 percent-off coupon for lifts, lessons, and rentals. Also, if you access Cyworld.com (http://cyworld.nate.com/vivaldipark) and make familyship with Vivaldi Park, not only will you receive cyworld money called acorns, but also many presents, including free tickets for lifts, resort entrances, lessons, and lodgings. 033-434-8311
Article=Travel Planner Choi Mi-seon
Pictures= Freelance Photographer Shin Seok-kyo