On Thursday October 10th, North Korea is set to open its first ski resort, Masik Pass according to the Washington Post. There is one problem though, there are no chairs on the chairlifts. With the project massively behind schedule, with no lifts, runs littered with rocks and weeds, and unfinished hotels, the resort is still slated to open in less then three days. The project saw its largest set back last month when the Swiss government blocked the sale of $7.7 million in chairlift and cable car equipment due to current sanctions on importing luxury goods into the impoverished nation. Austria and France also refused to sell North Korea chairlifts under the current sanctions, even after being offered millions by Kim Jong Un. This infuriated Kim Jong Un whom issued a statement on the state run media outlet accusing Europe of serious human rights abuse with its actions.
This is an intolerable mockery of the social system and the people of the DPRK and a serious human rights abuse that politicizes sports and discriminates against the Koreans.- Kim Jong Un
Masik Pass will be the only ski area in North Korea, a country of 5,500 skiers, or about 0.02% of the population. However the resort will consist of an eight story hotel reserved exclusively for foreign tourists, and a nearby town will be constructed into a tourist destination for the foreign tourists whom visit, which at this point is about 0 per year. North Korea says the resort is an effort to prove that they are just as advanced and sophisticated as the Western World. However it is more likely a result of South Korea hosting the Winter Olympics in 2018, and Kim Jong Un’s love for skiing. And while the resort still lacks chairlifts, the project head is still optimistic on the upcoming ski season and promises that the country is capable of building its own ski equipment.
We can make nuclear weapons and rockets, we can build a ski lift
Kim Jong Un accusing Europe of human rights abuse for not selling him chairlifts seems a bit absurd considering his countries standard of living at the moment. In a country where malnourishment is everywhere, prison camps and hard labor thrive, and a nuclear arms program is more important then feeding its citizens, it seems that Kim Jong Un is the real human rights abuser. However this is no more than a temper tantrum by the young leader who went to school in Switzerland is known to have a love for skiing. And while North Korea may be able to build nuclear missiles, it remains to be seen if they can construct a simple chairlift. However chairlift or not, the ski season is set to begin on December 10, who’s down for a ski trip to the Hermit Kingdom?