Winter Olympics – Five Fab Former Hosts
For those who love anything winter sports related it’s about to get very exciting as the XXIII Winter Olympics starts tomorrow (9 February) in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Over the years many places have benefited hugely from the exposure that hosting the Winter Olympics brings, as you’re immediately marked out as a leader in winter activities and this piques the interest for general tourists wanting to check out a culturally important destination.
As such the Flexicover team has taken the opportunity to reminisce about some previous host locations and their on and off piste attractions.
Chamonix, France - 1924
Where better to have begun the Winter Olympics than in the French area of Chamonix? The famed ski destination on the foothills of Mont Blanc has been on the tourist map since the 19th century, when its skiing slopes were already established. In 1924, it became a world player when it hosted the first Winter Olympics, and its reputation has stuck: now it’s one of Europe’s most popular spots for skiing, with added attractions like the views from Mont Blanc’s cable car, Aiguille du Midi, which remains the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world.
Vancouver, Canada - 2010
As the third-largest and most active city in Canada, it made sense that Vancouver took on the 2010 Winter Olympics. Visitors checking out the sports also experienced a forward-thinking, easy-going city which was keenly in touch with nature. The word spread, and now over ten million people come to the city each year, enjoying attractions like the nerve-racking Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, the unique location of Granville Island and Vancouver’s bustling Chinatown. Also since the Olympics, constructions like the Olympic Village, Vancouver Convention Centre, Richmond Oval, Canada Line and Hillcrest Community Centre form a major part of daily life.
Salt Lake City, USA – 2002
Salt Lake City’s winters are known locally as ‘the greatest snow on earth’ (boom boom), and though other places care to differ, it does offer an impressive 26,000 acres of skiable resorts. While plenty of winter activities take place around the city and nearby Wasatch Mountain, visitors to the 2002 host city shouldn’t miss the opportunity to experience the highlights of the quirky Utah capital. There’s a buzzy nightlife to indulge in. Plus it’s the spiritual home of the Mormons and the 10-acre complex of Temple Square is the place to find out about this.
Innsbruck, Austria - 1976
The 1976 Winter Olympics didn’t go quite according to plan. Denver was originally awarded the hosting duties, but concerns about rising costs and the environmental impact caused the city to withdraw in 1972. The IOC offered it to Whistler, Canada, then Lake Placid in the US, but both were unable to accept. So Innsbruck saved the day, as having previously hosted in 1964 meant no infrastructure projects were needed. For spectators, it provided an extra chance to enjoy the delights of the Tyrol capital, including its quaint old town, the viewpoint of the City Tower and its impressive Imperial Palace, a baroque building from 1500 with a beautiful mountain backdrop.
Turin, Italy - 2006
Perhaps more than for most host cities, the 2006 Winter Olympics played a key part in putting Turin on the map. It went from an averagely amazing Italian city to the country’s fifth-most visited destination as it was able to shake off its image of being an industrial town (it’s where Fiat, Lavazza and Olivetti are based) to showcase that it was also invested in culture. Now, around six million annual visitors peruse the regal-looking architecture in Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Carignano and La Venaria, lounge in its historic cafes, and of course, visit the world-famous Turin Shroud.
If you’re heading off to the slopes don’t forget your travel insurance. Flexicover winter sports policies cover over 25 activities, as well as key aspects such as equipment, lift passes, piste rescue and there’s a 24 hour medical emergency helpline.
So wherever your travel plans take you it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.