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Kim Jong-Un's Ski Area Hampered By Rains, Chairlift Export Ban

It appears that construction at Kim Jong Un's new ski area, Masik Pass Skiing Grounds, has been seriously hampered by torrential rains this summer as well as the refusal of the Swiss government to allow one of its chairlift manufacturers to sell a lift to the North Koreans. Apparently, poor preparation for construction, consideration for flood impacts, and clear-cutting of trees for the ski trails exacerbated the effect of seasonal rains that dropped 16 inches of rain on the area in one week. That caused mudslides that have clogged drainage ditches, flooded fields and farms, and have likely damaged the ski slopes themselves to a significant extent, although it goes without saying that the accuracy of information about any project in North Korea is fairly uncertain.

To add to Mr. Jong Un's frustration with the lack of skiing opportunities in his home country (word is he learned whilst at boarding school in the Alps), the Swiss government has put the kibosh on chairlift exports to North Korea after the hermit kingdom attempted to buy a $7.57 million chairlift system from a Swiss manufacturer. Switzerland added "infrastructure for sports facilities" on its list of banned goods for export to North Korea, which also includes equipment for golf, horseback riding, water sports, billiards and casinos, as well as luxury watches, jewellery, caviar, perfume and art.

It would appear Mr. Jong-Un's only remaining option for establishing the uphill transportation component of his fledging ski area is to hire some Cubans to get their paws on a second-hand high-speed quad, throw in a freighter hold, cover it in thousands of pounds of rice and sugar, and stuff that thing down the Panama Canal and hope no one hassles the crew. Although, that didn't work so well the last time.

· Ski Resort Turns to Propaganda Disaster [Daily NK]
· Swiss ban 'inappropriate' ski lifts for North Korea [Globe and Mail]
· Masik Pass archives [Curbed Ski]