South Korean athletes will soon head to North Korea’s Masikryong Ski Resort in an effort to warm ties before the Pyeongchang Olympics next month.
Located just outside Wonsan City in Kangwon Province, the resort was thought to have a number of problems like outdated equipment and malfunctioning chair lifts.
But photos obtained by NK News show quite a different picture. The resort seems more like a luxury ski resort in Europe or the US.
Odd Stensrud, a manager of one of the biggest alpine resorts in Norway, told NK News that he wouldn’t have believed it was in North Korea unless he was told beforehand.
What stands out is the volume of imported goods that North Korea is not supposed to be able to purchase – suggesting that they were obtained through sanction dodging.
Take a look:
Ski lessons for children happen daily. Here, children learn to balance on the snow.
Young skiers prepare to be pulled to the top of the bunny slope.
A large group of children taking part in a ski class ride a special convey-belt type track to climb part of the slope.
Here, a smaller group get pulled up the conveyor belt. There are two conveyor belts, one about 70 meters long, the other 20 meters.
Skiing and snowboarding are not the only activities — visitors can also go sledding as well.
This ski gondola is imported from the Ischgl Silvretta resort in Austria. The indirect sale of the gondola, which came via China, may have constituted a UN luxury goods sanctions breach.
The resort also has a gondola from the same Austrian company.
A label on the gondola imported from the Austrian Ischgl resort shows the name of the manufacturer: The gondola is a Doppelmayr detachable gondola system from the 1980s.
The resort also has Lynx snowmobiles that were manufactured in Finland — another example of sanction dodging.
A child is ready to ride one of the resort’s imported snowmobiles.
A TV screen at the bottom of the mountain plays videos for guests. There’s a taped performance by the Moranbong band, a well known girl-group in the DPRK.
On the left is the resort’s main building, and the hotel stands on the right.
The entrance to the Masikryong Ski Resort’s hotel looks as welcoming as any other ski resort in the world.
The resort has several restaurants. This one is located on the bottom floor beneath the ski hire station.
Italian Nordica skis and boots can be rented by visitors.
The stores sell everything from high end ski equipment to Colgate toothpaste — all of it imported.
South Korean skiers will soon come to the resort and practice with North Korean athletes. Here, a male skier from the North Korean national ski team is training on the slopes.
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