Inspired by the Winter Olympics? Ski Weekends has compiled some of the best resorts to try out winter Olympic sports, in the places where they have actually been hosted and in what year. For anyone itching to get out there after watching all the action on TV, it might be easier than they think to participate.
1924, Chamonix – cross country skiing
The first official Winter Olympic Games didn’t include any downhill Alpine skiing events – but cross country featured heavily. Chamonix is now known for its off-piste terrain, but it’s actually an ideal place to learn cross country skiing, with around 50km of trails spread across the valley from Les Houches and Chamonix town, to Argentière and Vallorcine at the very top.
1952, Oslo – Ski Jumping
Okay, so you might want to avoid actually participating yourself, but close to the Oslo Winter Park ski area, just 30 minutes from the city centre, is the Holmenkollen ski jump where you can watch competitors follow in the footsteps of those competing back in the ’52 Games. It’s the perfect place for a city break, with accommodation either in the city itself, or right next to the ski jump.
1964, Innsbruck – Bobsleigh
The sport of luge was introduced for the first time in the 9th Winter Olympic Games from Innsbruck, Austria. But, although it’s not possible to simply jump on a sled and give it a go, you can try the Bobsleigh run. Of course the huge variety of ski resorts surrounding the city offers a more relaxed alternative than screaming down an ice track at speeds of 115km/h.
1976, Axamer Lizum – Alpine skiing
The Games returned to Innsbruck in ’76 and although the legendary Franz Klammer stole the headlines by winning downhill gold in Patscherkofel, most of the Alpine skiing events took place in nearby Axamer Lizum. Despite its Olympic heritage, the resort is well suited to beginners and intermediates, with plenty of blue and red runs to enjoy.
1992, Tignes – Mogul skiing
The ’92 Games were held in the City of Albertville, France, with the skiing venues spread across the 3 Valley’s and Tarentaise regions. Tignes hosted the first ever official Winter Olympic Moguls event, with national hero Edgar Grospiron taking gold. The course is still used for World Cup events and if you’re lucky enough to get the right conditions, it’s possible to try it out yourself.
1992, Les Arcs – Speed Skiing
Speed skiing (where competitors literally go as fast as possible on skis straight down a steep slope that’s 1 kilometre long) was introduced as a demonstration event for the 1992 Winter Olympic in Albertville, with Les Arcs hosting the race. The ‘Flying Kilometre’ as it’s known is a track above Arcs 2000 on the Aiguille Rouge – not for the faint hearted and best not to attempt to straight line the slope, but enjoy at your leisure.