A new ski resort has opened in North Korea, according to the Associated Press.
The new resort is the Masik Pass ski resort, and is the result of 10 months of labor that are intended to show that North Korea is as civilized and culturally advanced as any other nation.
The new resort will formally open on Thursday, though according to the Associated Press, the main hotels didn't appear to be any more than shells, with access roads filled with potholes as recently as late last month. Foundations were also still being dug for secondary buildings.
There are only approximately 5,500 North Korean skiers in the country, which has a population of 24 million, making it a skiing population of only .02 percent.
The ski resort currently consists of ski runs that are dirt dotted with rocks, weeds and patches of grass. Two lifts have been installed but, according to the associated Press, neither was working.
North Korea has a reputation of jumping into large projects without considering their relevance to the larger economic questions facing the country, such as producing reliable electricity and adequate food.
South Korea is set to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and North Korea may be feeling pressure to compete.
Planners of the resort expect to arrive at a converted military airbase at Wonsan, the nearest city. The resort also has a heliport.
"All of Wonsan will be turned into a tourist area," Ri Ki Song, an economist for the Institute of Economy at North Korea's Academy of Social Science, said in an interview in Pyongyang. "It will have a big impact on the economy.
"We are now trying to build a lot of tourism sites, and skiing is the kind of sport that developed to build a lot of tourism sites, and skiing is the kind of sport that developed countries enjoy," Song continued. 'It will also be a place for our own people to use."
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