North Korea Angry Nobody Will Sell Them Ski Lifts

Apparently North Korean leader Kim Jong-un isn’t an “earn your turns” kind of guy. Nobody will sell the despot ski lifts and boy is he mad.

According to a news release from North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, the government called some European countries banning exports of ski lifts to the sanctioned nation a “serious human rights abuse.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, visits the ski resort under construction in Masik Pass; photo KCNA

“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,” it said.

Why does North Korea want ski lifts? The country is currently working feverishly to build a ski area at Masik Pass, according to an Associated Press report published in the Washington Post. “The product of 10 months of furious labor is intended to show that this country, so often derided for its poverty and isolation, is as civilized and culturally advanced as any other,” the report states.

The North Korean ski resort at Masik Pass under construction; photo KCNA

While it can build weapons like the long-range Taepodong-2 missel, North Korea doesn’t appear to have the technology to manufacture lifts for the new resort, which includes a range of ski runs, a hotel and heliport.

The Swiss government blocked the deal worth about $7.7 million on exports of mechanical chair lifts and cable cars to Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un went to school in Switzerland, where he presumably learned to ski. —Sean McCoy

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.