Unseasonal warm weather continues to wilt winter fests in Korea

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Unseasonal warm weather continues to wilt winter fests in Korea

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

While many rejoice with warmer temperatures in what is normally a frigid Korean winter, annual winter festivals and those looking forward to them are starting to suffer cancellations and changes in plans.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, temperatures in 2019 rose more than one degree Celsius higher on a yearly average compared to previous years. It was second highest yearly rate since 1973. In January, temperatures have already reached on average about 4 degrees higher from this time last year.

Gangwon-do, a winter sports and ice festival hot spot, known for freezing temperatures and great powder, has instead been dealt a bitter blow from the warm weather.

Many festivals like the 4th Honcheon Ggong Ggong Festival, planned from Jan. 1 to Jan. 17, and the Inje Ice Festival, scheduled to start Jan. 18, were canceled.

Another famous festival, the Sancheoneo Ice Festival, which attracts thousands from across the country, struggled to keep the event alive. Organizers even went as far as adding artificial snow to readjust the river water level to the minimum 20 cm ice thickness for safe ice fishing, the festival’s signature attraction. After two postponements to attempt to make it safe for eventgoers, organizers eventually shut it down.

If you plan on partaking in winter sports this warm winter, do a little research before you head out. Ski slopes and ice fishing areas may not be at a safe. Don’t let this short winter season put a damper on your cold weather activities, check out other ways to have fun in Korea during inclement weather here and here!

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