The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, which run from Feb. 9-25, offer a rare opportunity to see the world’s top winter sports stars in action. The Chosun Ilbo and the Olympics organizing committee have jointly created a set of Olympic itineraries ranging in length from one to five days. Tickets for figure skating singles and short track skating events have already sold out, but there are plenty of other exciting events that are seldom seen in Korea.
◆ Families with Children
Your kids may not even know what the Winter Olympics are, but they are bound to get a kick out of the sledding events. However, it may be a challenge for them to watch night-time races at the outdoor venues in the cold, so the skeleton events, which are held in the morning, could be a good choice.
The men’s skeleton final, in which Yun Sung-bin will compete for a gold medal, will take place in Pyeongchang on Feb. 16. Tickets are W40,000 (US$1=W1,090). The women’s event will be held the next day.
Also, curling events are scheduled to take place almost every day throughout the Olympic period, as the competition includes a preliminary round.
Ice dance, in which male/female pairs perform together, is ideal for couples. The most affordable tickets, priced at W150,000, are still available for some events. The free skating event will be held at the Ice Arena in Gangneung on Feb. 20. After that, visitors may warm themselves with a cup of coffee at one of the cafes in the city’s famous coffee district.
On Feb. 21, they may make a brief visit to a cattle or sheep ranch in nearby Daegwallyeong during the day to enjoy the region’s stunning wintry landscapes. For some excitement in the evening they can watch the men’s and women’s team sprint event in speed skating in Gangneung, and join a dance party where a famous disc jockey will provide an upbeat night. Tickets cost W40,000.
◆ Winter Sports Fans
For serious winter sports fans, a five-day trip to Pyeongchang is a dream come true, offering a chance to rub elbows with sporting celebrities and attend the showpiece of the Winter Olympics, the ice hockey competition.
Ski jumping is another event not to be missed. The world’s most successful female ski jumper, Sara Takanashi of Japan, who holds the record for the most World Cup victories (53), will participate in the women’s normal hill event on Feb. 12.
Korean-American Cloe Kim will compete in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe final on Feb. 13, and two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White will participate in the men’s final the next day.
On Feb. 15, the women’s ice hockey match between the U.S. and Canada will take place in Gangneung. For just W20,000, fans can see the top two teams in women’s ice hockey fight it out. At night, the men’s match between Korea and the Czech Republic will be held.
For those who have to work during weekdays, a one-day Saturday trip is ideal. Departing early in the morning and arriving in Pyeongchang by noon on Feb. 24, they can enjoy the men’s alpine snowboarding, in which Lee Sang-ho will compete for Korea’s first medal in the snow event.
In the evening, the speed skating mass-start race will be held in Gangneung. The chance to see Lee Seung-hoon win a gold medal is worth the W250,000 ticket price. Female speed skater Kim Bo-reum is also a medal prospect.
Visitors can return by car or KTX train after the event and get a full day’s rest on Sunday.