A Village in Decline, Gangwon Province

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Last week, I documented me and my girlfriend’s expedition to an abandoned ski resort in a small village in Gangwon Province. Once a town that thrived on tourism has become a quiet, empty town relying on farming to make end’s meet. Due to a bus driver’s strike, we had to hire a taxi to reach our destination. The taxi driver didn’t ask any nosey questions about why we came out to such a barren town. He assumed we had come out to hike, as there were plenty of hiking trails around their area.  Stepping out of the car, we came upon the first of many closed up ski rental shops.

Further up the road, we came upon a couple other defunct winter sports equipment shops rotting away next to barely scraping by guest houses and Korean restaurants.000010000011 We weren’t able to get into as we made our way to the resort. However, we discovered another cluster of shut down businesses.  We were able to get into the first building pictured (see below). The owner, much like other former restaurateurs in the area was out back, plowing his field as we snuck inside. The only building we accessed was the former hof on the second floor. As I went up further. I noticed a mat and blanket set up in an upper-level room. I guess it was a resting place for the farmer plowing to beat the heat. Next to this building was a large red complex that housed Insu-bong ski shop. I presume said ski shop was named after Insu-bong, a famous rock climbing peak on Bukhansan. All doors were locked, it was no go. 000002000003000004000006 2000009000008 2

The view from the old restaurant. In better times, this place probably attracted a lot of skiers seeking shelter to warm up after a day on the slopes.
The former ski shop here was named Insu-bong for some reason. 


Walking on the road to find a more active part of town to hitch a cab back to Sokcho, we came across this rental shop that seemed to have been timestamped around 2006 or 2007. It seemed we weren’t the first visitors. Past trespassers busted a window to get inside. 000024000014000012000021 2000020000023

The carpeted floor was caked in dust. It wouldn’t be unfair to say this place has been closed for over a decade.  I could have spent a long time there, but we needed to go find food and call for a taxi. No buses pass out here as there was a bus driver strike going on at the time in both Sokcho and Gangneung when we were visited. 000025 What a great day. Lots to see and plenty of photographic opportunities. I definitely recommend other like-minded explorers to check this out.  Renting a car would definitely make it easier to explore, you could possibly find more to see in a less amount of time. Again, this place is easy to access. Just be a good internet sleuth, and you will be on your way to the reclaimed slopes.


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