North Korea is building a "world class" ski resort on Masik hill in Wonsan with a range of ski runs and a hotel, according to the North Korean state news agency.
Located in Kangwon Province, Masik hill is 2,520 feet (768 meters) high and typically receives heavy snowfall from early November through early March.
A series of photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaking with his staff in front of the ski resort site was released this week. The accompanying news report from the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the young leader dropped by to get a firsthand report on the progress of construction.
"He was greatly satisfied to learn that soldier-builders have constructed a skiing area on mountain ranges covering hundreds of thousands of square meters, including primary, intermediate and advanced courses with almost 110,000 meters (68.3 miles) in total length and 40-120 meters (131-394 feet) in width", said the KCNA report.Kim also commented that it would be "more fantastic" to see the ground covered with snow and ordered the military to accelerate the pace of the construction so that the resort is operational from the coming winter.
The site also benefits from its proximity to the Pyongyang-Wonsan motorway, while a nearby military airfield might be turned into an airport to handle an anticipated surge in tourists.
KCNA quoted Kim as saying that once the resort is completed, "A skiing wave will seize the country".
According to a tour agency specializing in North Korean travel, the new resort will be open to foreign tourists. "We've known of the plans for this development for a couple of years -- work only began recently though and I've seen the basic plans just last week", said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours.