Masik Pass, North Korea’s latest ski resort located in the Kangwon Province in the eastern region of the country, is due to be inaugurated to coincide with the 68th anniversary of the formation of the Korean Workers Party.
North Korean authorities have been encouraging a broader interest in sports in the country, calling it “the hot wind of sports blowing through Korea.”
The secretary-general of North Korea’s ski association views the sprawling alpine landscape before him with unabashed pride. Facing a strong, cold wind, he points to a dip in the rugged, tree-covered mountains and says the sunrise there is a sight of unmatched beauty. The pistes cut their way through the trees to converge at the construction site below composed of hotels, chalets and sleigh rides. There are about 5,500 North Korean skiers in this country of 24 million but number could change rapidly as its leader Kim Jong Un, who reportedly enjoyed the sport as a teenager studying in Switzerland wishes to introduce it to the country youth.
Ski chief Kim said Masik Pass was floated as a potential venue for the 2018 Games, but Seoul turned that offer down. Kim – who began skiing as a child and competed in international cross-country competitions – vowed that with Masik as a training center, North Korea will have a world champion of its own in just a few years.