North Korea’s lavish ski resort opens on Thursday, even though the attraction may not be completely finished. While Masik Pass ski resort offers luxury accommodations, only about 5,5000 of North Koreans know how to ski.
However, Kim Jong Un is a potential candidate for the resort, as he reportedly enjoyed the sport while he was a teen studying in Switzerland.
Another possibility for the resort’s construction is the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. It is possible the resort is meant to show the country won’t be outdone by its southern brethren.
The complex includes ski runs, resort chalets, and sleigh rides. While its opening days is Thursday, an inspection last week showed the main hotels had a long way to go. Access roads to North Korea’s ski resort were filled with potholes and foundations for secondary buildings were still being dug.
The resort has been under construction for 10 months and is being helped along by soldier-builders in olive-colored uniforms. They are part of “shock brigades,” part of the military assigned to especially difficult and urgent tasks.
Masik’s ski runs last month were little more than long strips of brown dirt littered with rocks, weeds, and patches of grass. Two simple lifts were installed, though neither was working. Still, officials with the ski resort claim it will be a wonder that attracts many.
Ski official Kim Tae Yong hopes that, with the training given by North Korea’s own skiing facility, the country will be more competitive on the world athletic stage. While North Korea participates in the Olympics and other world games, it has only won two medals in the past, both for speed skating.
Kim added that the resort won’t be finished by Thursday, but it will still open then. The rest of the project will be built in phase two. The ski official added that his main concern is the resort’s ski lifts. The Swiss government was going to allow a company to sell lifts to North Korea for $7.7 million. However, the plans were nixed because of new sanctions barring the sale of luxury goods to the North.
Still, North Korea hopes its new ski resort will be an attraction for its citizens, as well as foreigners.
[Image via ShutterStock]