Terje Håkonsen, Dan Liedahl and Mike Ravelson to be the first pro snowboarders to visit North Korea
December 4, 2015
Terje Håkonsen, Dan Liedahl and Mike Ravelson will be the first professional snowboarders to visit the Masik Pass ski resort in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or the “DPRK,” the official country name of North Korea). The trip is organized by Uri Tours, a New Jersey tour operator with over 15 years’ experience running tours to North Korea, in partnership with SNOWBOARDER, the largest snowboarding publication in the world, based in Carlsbad, California.
The trip is open to the public and will feature 4 days of skiing and snowboarding at Masik Pass. The professional riders will be performing stunts and introducing locals to the art of professional snowboarding as seen in North America and Europe. Tom Monterosso, Editor of SNOWBOARDER magazine, commented on the impetus of setting up the trip: “Our goal as snowboarders is to explore the farthest reaches of the globe and when the opportunity to go to Masik Pass in North Korea surfaced, we were excited to find out what snowboarding and the snowboard scene was in the DPRK. The riders were really excited about it as well. These guys have a sense of adventure and they’re always down to go to far flung locales so they were eager to ride Masik Pass.”
Terje Håkonsen is widely regarded by his peers as legendary and the greatest snowboarder in the history of the sport. Håkonsen dominated the halfpipe circuit in the late 90s and then transitioned into one of the best big mountain and all-terrain riders of his generation. Dan Liedahl (aka “Danimals”) is among the world’s most popular snowboarders, focusing on urban terrain rather than big mountain riding. He has appeared in some of the most widely-circulated snowboard videos on the market today. Mike Ravelson (aka “Mike Rav”) is part of snowboarding’s next generation of riders. He specializes in street riding but is a great all-around snowboarder. Mike Rav is on his way to becoming one of the most recognizable faces in snowboarding.
The trip will take place at the Masik Pass ski resort, which opened in December 2013. The Masik Pass is the second ski resort built in the country and it is open to local as well as international customers. The total area of the resort is 1412 hectares, with 10 runs, 4 chairlifts and a new gondola installed this year. Andrea Lee, CEO of Uri Tours, comments: “The ski resort is the country’s most notable development in sports infrastructure. There have been a number of sporting facilities built in the recent years to reflect a popular movement in the country called ‘sports fever.’” The travel company offers a number of activity-based tours throughout the year including Pyongyang Marathon tours, surf tours and cycling tours. “We have found that sports is an effective avenue for engagement and interaction between foreign travelers and local people, particularly where language can be a barrier,” says Andrea.
The group will be taking advantage of the newly available charter of Air Koryo’s MI-17 helicopter fleet for transport from Pyongyang to the Masik Pass helipad. This will be the first time the helicopters will be available to civilian passengers on this particular route. The estimated flight time is 1 hour by helicopter.
The trip will take place from January 9-16, 2016 and is priced at US$2,400. The package includes round-trip airfare from Beijing to Pyongyang, the special helicopter transport to the ski resort, DPRK visas, sightseeing and all accommodations. The deadline for registration is December 21. More information can be found on the booking page.
John Terry Dundon
Director of Operations