Moun­tain games

Canadian Geographic - - GATEWAY - —Michela Rosano

FOR­GET THE SWISS ALPS this year. The “Korean Alps,” as the Tae­baek Moun­tains near Pyeongchan­g, South Korea, are known, are set to steal the win­ter sports spot­light as the area hosts the Olympic Win­ter Games from Feb. 9 to 25, 2018. Ath­letes and spec­ta­tors from around the world will stream into Pyeongchan­g and the sur­round­ing re­gion in north­east­ern Gang­won prov­ince for the snow, ice and alpine events. Here’s a look at the lo­ca­tion of the Games, its venues and some of the area’s top at­trac­tions.

The an­nual Daeg­wal­lyeong Snow Fes­ti­val in Pyeongchan­g county’s Daeg­wal­lyeong town­ship (Feb. 7 to 18, 2018) is one of the cul­tural events tak­ing place dur­ing the Games. The quirky fes­ti­val cel­e­brates the re­gion’s boun­ti­ful snow and ice, kick­ing off with a fire­works dis­play fol­lowed by a snow art con­test, trout ice-fish­ing and, most fa­mously, an in­ter­na­tional half-naked marathon.

Spec­ta­tors can travel ef­fi­ciently from Incheon In­ter­na­tional Air­port out­side of Seoul, South Korea’s cap­i­tal, to Olympic venues in Pyeongchan­g and Gangne­ung on a new high­speed rail line. The line will cut trans­porta­tion time be­tween the air­port and Pyeongchan­g from 3½ hours to just over 1½ hours.

The more than 1,000-year-old Wol­jeongsa Tem­ple in Odae­san Na­tional Park is one of many Bud­dhist tem­ples across the coun­try of­fer­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions dur­ing the Games. Visitors can ex­pe­ri­ence the life of a monk and learn about the coun­try’s Bud­dhist her­itage.

The Pyeongchan­g Moun­tain Clus­ter on the snowy, high-el­e­va­tion slopes of the Tae­baek Moun­tains, which run along the eastern coast of the Korean Penin­sula, is home to the Olympic Sta­dium (site of the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies) and seven other venues, in­clud­ing the Us$1.5-bil­lion Alpen­sia Re­sort com­plex, where ski jump­ing, biathlon and cross-coun­try ski events will be held. Alpine events will take place in the nearby city of Jeongseon at the new Jeongseon Alpine Cen­tre, while snow­board­ing and freestyle ski­ing events will hap­pen to the north of the clus­ter at Bok­wang Snow Park.

Five venues host­ing the Games’ ice events, in­clud­ing hockey (in both the newly built Gangne­ung and Kwan­dong hockey cen­tres), curl­ing and skat­ing, are in the Gangne­ung Coastal Clus­ter on the Sea of Japan in the largest city in Gang­won prov­ince. The clus­ter will also host large-scale cul­tural per­for­mances.

GANGNE­UNG Jeongseon Alpine Cen­tre Olympic Slid­ing Cen­tre Yong­py­ong Alpine Cen­tre Wol­geongsa Tem­ple Alpen­sia Biathlon Cen­tre Alpen­sia Ski Jump­ing Cen­tre Alpen­sia Cross-coun­try Cen­tre Pyeongchan­g Olympic Sta­dium Daeg­wal­lyeong Snow Fes­ti­val Bok­wang Snow...

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