Top 10 Winter Olympic Destinations

by ShermansTravel Editorial Staff

Top 10 Winter Olympic Destinations

by ShermansTravel Editorial Staff

In honor of the upcoming 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, we’ve compiled a list of former host cities whose Olympic-legacy attractions and activities—from skating rinks to ski-jump simulators—have lasting tourism appeal.

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1 of 10
Calgary

Year hosted: 1988 With five Olympic venues still in use, Calgary is the best place for winter sports within city limits. It claims “the world’s fastest ice” for skating; Canada Olympic Park (1988’s main arena) is home to epic ski runs and the Olympic Hall of Fame Museum; and (as of 2010) a 500,000-square-foot ice complex comprises four hockey rinks, a public fitness center, and training facility.

Year hosted: 1988 With five Olympic venues still in use, Calgary is the best place for winter sports within city limits. It claims “the world’s fastest ice” for skating; Canada Olympic Park (1988’s main arena) is home to epic ski runs and the Olympic Hall of Fame Museum; and (as of 2010) a 500,000-square-foot ice complex comprises four hockey rinks, a public fitness center, and training facility.

2 of 10
Chamonix-Mont Blanc

Year hosted: 1924 At the foot of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s tallest peak, Chamonix’s status as the premier Alpine skiing destination predates the first Winter Olympics in 1924. While it continues to host international winter sports competitions, its picturesque peaks—which look out to the Italian Alps—swank après-ski scene, and luxe chalets attract adrenaline junkies and haute travelers alike.

Year hosted: 1924 At the foot of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s tallest peak, Chamonix’s status as the premier Alpine skiing destination predates the first Winter Olympics in 1924. While it continues to host international winter sports competitions, its picturesque peaks—which look out to the Italian Alps—swank après-ski scene, and luxe chalets attract adrenaline junkies and haute travelers alike.

3 of 10
Cortina d'Ampezzo

Year hosted: 1956 Following the 1956 Games, Cortina, Italy became the go-to getaway for glitterati (counting Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren among its famed visitors). Today, it continues to host major sporting events—from the Women’s World Ski to the European Snowboardcross. While there’s plenty for non-skiers, the main draws are the first-rate pistes and well-groomed runs through alpine forests.

Year hosted: 1956 Following the 1956 Games, Cortina, Italy became the go-to getaway for glitterati (counting Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren among its famed visitors). Today, it continues to host major sporting events—from the Women’s World Ski to the European Snowboardcross. While there’s plenty for non-skiers, the main draws are the first-rate pistes and well-groomed runs through alpine forests.

4 of 10
Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Year hosted: 1936 The twin German towns Garmisch-Partenkirchen continue to welcome the world’s top winter athletes at the annual New Year’s Ski Jump. Re-live the 1936 Games on a guided tour of the Olympic ski jump at Mt. Gudiberg, and hike the perilous bobsled run at Lake Riessersee. The AlpspiX viewing platform, suspended at 3,300 feet, offers stunning views of Mt. Zugspitze and the gorge below

Year hosted: 1936 The twin German towns Garmisch-Partenkirchen continue to welcome the world’s top winter athletes at the annual New Year’s Ski Jump. Re-live the 1936 Games on a guided tour of the Olympic ski jump at Mt. Gudiberg, and hike the perilous bobsled run at Lake Riessersee. The AlpspiX viewing platform, suspended at 3,300 feet, offers stunning views of Mt. Zugspitze and the gorge below

5 of 10
Innsbruck

Years hosted: 1964, 1976 Innsbruck, in Austria’s Tyrolean Alps, is one of only three cities to have hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice. Beyond the 310 miles of powdery pistes, Innsbruck is home to impressive architectural gems, from Baroque to Bauhaus to Zaha Hadid, who designed the Bergisel Ski Jump and several stations for the funicular railway that connects the city center to the mountains.

Years hosted: 1964, 1976 Innsbruck, in Austria’s Tyrolean Alps, is one of only three cities to have hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice. Beyond the 310 miles of powdery pistes, Innsbruck is home to impressive architectural gems, from Baroque to Bauhaus to Zaha Hadid, who designed the Bergisel Ski Jump and several stations for the funicular railway that connects the city center to the mountains.

6 of 10
Lake Placid

Years hosted: 1932, 1980 North America’s first Winter Olympic host city, Lake Placid, New York, has everything from ice fishing to snowmobiling. The Olympic-site Whiteface Mountain boasts the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies. Visitors can ride an elevator to the platform of the Olympic ski jump, go ice-skating, or zoom down a real bobsled chute.

Years hosted: 1932, 1980 North America’s first Winter Olympic host city, Lake Placid, New York, has everything from ice fishing to snowmobiling. The Olympic-site Whiteface Mountain boasts the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies. Visitors can ride an elevator to the platform of the Olympic ski jump, go ice-skating, or zoom down a real bobsled chute.

7 of 10
Lillehammer

Year hosted: 1994 Lillehammer, Norway’s five Olympic venues are now open to visitors for activities like cross-country skiing and tobogganing. Don’t miss the Bobsleigh and Luge Track, where you can zoom down the original run on a four-man bobsled at 75 mph. Trace the history of the Games from Ancient Greece to present day at the Norwegian Olympic Museum.

Year hosted: 1994 Lillehammer, Norway’s five Olympic venues are now open to visitors for activities like cross-country skiing and tobogganing. Don’t miss the Bobsleigh and Luge Track, where you can zoom down the original run on a four-man bobsled at 75 mph. Trace the history of the Games from Ancient Greece to present day at the Norwegian Olympic Museum.

8 of 10
St. Moritz

Years hosted: 1928, 1948 People have sought St. Moritz’s healing hot springs for millennia, but the tiny Swiss town lacked infrastructure until its second time hosting Games. Today, visitors can watch athletes train and compete at the Winter Olympic ski jump and the St. Moritz-Celerina Olympic bobsled run. Channel your inner Olympian at the Corviglia ski area; run number 12 was used for the Games.

Years hosted: 1928, 1948 People have sought St. Moritz’s healing hot springs for millennia, but the tiny Swiss town lacked infrastructure until its second time hosting Games. Today, visitors can watch athletes train and compete at the Winter Olympic ski jump and the St. Moritz-Celerina Olympic bobsled run. Channel your inner Olympian at the Corviglia ski area; run number 12 was used for the Games.

9 of 10
Sapporo

Year hosted: 1972 Sapporo, Japan made history in 1972 when it hosted the first Olympics outside of Europe or North America. Today, the Mt. Okura ski jump—where the Japanese took all three medals at the ‘72 Games—hosts jumpers year-round. Visitors can watch from a 900-foot-high observatory overlooking the city, or experience the drop themselves in the Winter Sports Museum’s ski-jump simulator.

Year hosted: 1972 Sapporo, Japan made history in 1972 when it hosted the first Olympics outside of Europe or North America. Today, the Mt. Okura ski jump—where the Japanese took all three medals at the ‘72 Games—hosts jumpers year-round. Visitors can watch from a 900-foot-high observatory overlooking the city, or experience the drop themselves in the Winter Sports Museum’s ski-jump simulator.

10 of 10
Squaw Valley

Year hosted: 1960 Prior to 1960, Squaw Valley, California had one chair lift, making it the smallest Olympics host city to date. Today, the resort welcomes upwards of a million visitors per year. The Olympic cauldron and Walt Disney-designed Tower of Nations still flank the entrance, and the nation’s sole funitel (a type of aerial ski lift) whisks visitors up the mountain at 1,000 feet per minute.

Year hosted: 1960 Prior to 1960, Squaw Valley, California had one chair lift, making it the smallest Olympics host city to date. Today, the resort welcomes upwards of a million visitors per year. The Olympic cauldron and Walt Disney-designed Tower of Nations still flank the entrance, and the nation’s sole funitel (a type of aerial ski lift) whisks visitors up the mountain at 1,000 feet per minute.

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