A new gondola that has opened this season at North Korea’s highly publicised ski area Masik Pass once operated in Ischgl, according to a report in The New York Times.
North Korea had originally tried to secure ski equipment from Europe directly, but most European nations decided selling to the country would be in breach of a UN trade embargo prohibiting the sale of luxury goods to the regime.
However, China has said that it does not regard skiing as a “luxury” activity so does not feel the trade in ski equipment is prohibited and was therefore happy to sell ski lifts and other equipment to North Korea.
The New York Times reports that an Austrian dealer in secondhand ski resort equipment, Pro-Alpin, sold the lift, which had once operated at Ischgl and was more than 30 years old, to a Chinese company, which then sold it on to North Korea.
Although Masik Pass got the most publicity, North Korea already had an existing ski area that also had an old European chairlift, believed to have been imported before sanctions were applied. It is thought to have originally operated at Villars in Switzerland.
Image credit – Uri Tours