3 Olympic Winter Retreats

Not able to make it to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics? Well there are still ways to join the celebration! This winter head to these three Olympic destinations to relive their glory – and of course, enjoy the snow. You never know what past athletes you might just bump into on the chairlift.

1. Salt Lake City, Utah (2002)

In the heart of the country and with The Greatest Snow on Earth™, Salt Lake City and its surrounding ski resort towns power through winter with powder. Only a short two hour flight from me in Portland (and many other destinations across the U.S.), Utah’s snow parks offer spectacular Olympic experiences year-round as a training ground. In Park City, visit the Olympic Park to watch high-performance athletes in their element or learn how to steer your own skeleton or luge down the bobsled track. If downhill is more your style, stay at one of Park City’s or Ogden’s many ski-in/ski-out resorts.

Photo via Visit Park City

2. Vancouver, B.C. (2006)

Say “Ah” to new experiences and white as winter activities in Vancouver, B.C. and bring out your inner Olympian athlete. To get in the spirit of the games, tour some of the 2006 winter Olympic venues like the Whistler’s Olympic Park, the first Olympic Nordic venue including cross-country, ski-jumping and biathlon. Even grab a lesson at this classic stadium. Beside the flat stuff, this destination will also get your heart pounding! Experience Whistler’s famous slopes at Dave Murray Downhill and really ramp up your vacation by trying dog-sledding or heli-skiing.

Photo by Mike Crane and Tourism Whistler
Photo by Mike Crane and Tourism Whistler

3. Lake Placid, New York (1932 & 1980)

My mom, when she was my age, road tripped across the United States by herself to attend the 1980 winter Olympics in Lake Placid. While the events may have been more low-key than they are today (and she was able to just stay with strangers and get tickets day of!), the destination is nevertheless grand for winter activities. Today, Whiteface Mountain still offers amazing downhill skiing, but this winter wonderland serves up even more for those not looking for a speedy descent. Try ice-climbing in the Adirondack’s with an experienced guide, slide down the toboggan chute or cross-country ski across hills fluffy with powder in Lake Placid, which Ski Magazine’s ranked it’s number one destination for off-mountain activities!

Photo thanks to Lake Placid CVB
Photo thanks to Lake Placid CVB

Beside attracting amazing athletes to Lake Placid for the two Olympic games, they also “allowed Lake Placid to achieve the community’s goals to promote a healthy lifestyle, and to establish Lake Placid as a world-class sports centre and resort,” said James McKenna, CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, in a recent article posted on Olympic.org

And this impact has reached beyond each Olympic game and destination, creating amazing locations for future families and Olympians to enjoy year after year!

What Olympic city do you most want to visit this winter?


Published by Kelsey Ivey

An avid traveler and hiker, Kelsey is a freelance writer and professional explorer.

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