Fancy hitting the slopes at North Korea’s new ski resort?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the newly built ski resort in the Masik Pass region. Source: Reuters/KCNA

AS much of the northern hemisphere is still in the throes of winter, anyone heading up to the chilly climes this time of year would be well set to head for a day of fun at the nearest ski resort. The good news is, there’s now one more for you to choose from – Kanggye, North Korea.   

As the final countdown to the winter Olympics in South Korea begins, the North is getting in on the wintery action. It announced Sunday the opening of the country’s second ski resort near the northern city of Kanggye.

According to the Telegraph, the news was announced on the country’s Ryugyong website, which explained, in true North Korean style, that the project was completed ahead of schedule to reflect the “supreme will of the people.”

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The project reportedly only took 10-months to complete and was built using entirely local materials to get around the tricky issue of UN sanctions preventing the regime from importing from overseas.

State-run DPRK Today said the ski area would feature two ski slopes and snow-making capabilities “so skiing would not be hindered if snow doesn’t fall in the winter.”

The ski area covers 12 acres with a 530-meter main slope, suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers. There’s also a 200m beginner slope, restaurants and accommodation.

The latest resort is the second of its kind in the communist nation. It follows the much larger Masikryong resort which opened in 2013.

Masikryong was erected in record speed, taking less than a year to complete; a feature that earned it a spot in the public’s lexicon with the saying “Masikryong speed,” referring to anything built quickly.

Construction hit a snag, however, when developers were not allowed to import a chairlift from Switzerland due to trade sanctions. At the time, leader Kim Jong Un referred to the restriction as “a serious breach of human rights.” Instead it had to source a 30-year-old Austrian ski lift, sold to the North Korean resort by China.

Despite the Supreme Leader’s enthusiasm for winter sports (he’s had many a photo-op riding the ski-lifts), it seems his citizens don’t share it – or just simply can’t afford to.

When professional freeride skier Sam Smoothy visited Masikryong back in 2016, he found the slopes empty with most visitors on the nursery slopes only just learning to ski.