Winning Destinations: Olympic Cities Past and Future

Vancouver Olympic Cauldron, Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada
AFAR Media

With all eyes on Sochi, it's the perfect time to reminisce over past settings for the Winter Olympics. To celebrate a long history of chilly competitions around the world, the staff at AFAR Media have pulled together images from previous host cities and one future destination. Take a peek and share your favorites in the comments.

PHOTO: St. Moritz, Switzerland
AFAR Media
St. Moritz, Switzerland

"It’s hard to think of a more romantic view of the Swiss mountains than gazing up at their snow-capped peaks while snuggled up in a horse-drawn sleigh," said a local in St. Moritz, which served as the backdrop for 1948's V Olympic Winter Games in Switzerland.

Vancouver Olympic Cauldron, Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada
AFAR Media
Vancouver, Canada

"The streets were electric, the skies blue, the people red and white with Canadian pride, and smiles were a permanent fixture on nearly every face," recalls one spectator from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

PHOTO: Mount Okura Ski Jump Stadium, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
AFAR Media
Hokkaido, Japan

"Mt. Okura was one of the venues for the 1972 Olympics and home to ski jumping events," described an AFAR Media contributor, of the games in Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan. "Today, it holds an observatory at the top (300 meters) where you can get on a lift from the base of the ski jump, which runs parallel to the ski jump."

PHOTO: Piazza Castello, Torino, Italy
AFAR Media
Torino, Italy

"Passion lives here" was the official slogan of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, described as "pedestrianized and easily explored in a couple of days" by an AFAR Media contributor.

PHOTO: Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica Hotel, Oslo, Norway
AFAR Media
Oslo, Norway

"One of Oslo’s most recognizable landmarks is a former sanatorium designed in the 'dragon style,' an ornate Norwegian variant on Swiss chalet architecture," according to AFAR. "Next door sits the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, rebuilt for the 2011 Nordic World Ski Championships." Oslo also hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VI Olympic Winter Games.

PHOTO: Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix, France
AFAR Media
Chamonix, France

"Walk along the river to head toward the Chamonix Micro Brewery (MBC) at 350 Route de Bouchet and enjoy the pub's food, beverages and cozy atmosphere," writes an AFAR contributor. "Toast to taking advantage of all that this rugged setting has to offer and honor its past too (home of the first Winter Olympics in 1924)."

PHOTO: Olympic Jumping Complex, Lake Placid, NY, United States
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Lake Placid, USA

Afraid of heights? Then stick to admiring this image of "the Olympic Jumping Complex located in Lake Placid New York, the only operating ski jump on the East Coast of the U.S." Lake Placid has twice played host to the Winter Olympics: in 1932 and 1980.

PHOTO: Partnach Gorge, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Deutschland
AFAR Media
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

"Way back when, before Hitler decided to really terrorize Europe, he threw the villages of Garmisch and Partenkirchen together and they hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics," writes an AFAR Media contributor. "There are still traces of that time around GAP, such as this painting on one building in the Partenkirchen" area.

Innsbruck, Austria

"High up above the roofs of Innsbruck, you will find this futuristic-looking landmark. The ski jump, which overlooks the whole region, has already seen two Olympic Games [1964 and 1976] and hosted many international competitions."

PHOTO: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

The 1984 Winter Olympics took place in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, in what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina. "Sarajevo is Europe without tourists," writes an AFAR Media contributor. "A stroll downtown takes you through time, from the Bašcaršija district, with its 16th-century mosque and tiny Ottoman-era shops, into the Austro-Hungarian quarter, and finally to Yugoslavian-era apartment blocks."

PHOTO: Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, AB, Canada
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Calgary, Canada

"One of the best things about Calgary is the winter playground in the center of town," according to an AFAR Media contributor. "Canada Olympic Park, on the western edge of the city, features a ski hill, snowboard park, cross-country trails, an Olympic luge track, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, and a glass elevator that takes you to the 1988 Winter Olympic's biggest ski jump, as well as skating facilities and restaurants."

PHOTO: Atelier Kakao, Lillehammer, Norge
AFAR Media
Lillehammer, Norway

Interested in checking out the former home of the 1994 Winter Olympics? Be prepared for a series of charming cafes, such as Atelier Kakao, which offers "a variety of comfy seating to enjoy your coffee beverage, chocolaty treat, or full meal."

PHOTO: Cross Country Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
AFAR Media
Salt Lake City, USA

Salt Lake City played host to the 2002 Winter Olympics and the Olympic Park continues to be a major tourist destination and training ground for future athletes. Nearby, "the Solitude Nordic Centre has more than 15 miles of well-manicured trails that spiders through pristine wilderness, which means you’ll never feel crowded even in one of the region’s most popular ski areas."

PHOTO: Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea
AFAR Media
Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea

The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Those interested in attending may consider staying at "Alpensia, an integrated ski resort about 3.5 hours from Seoul," recommends AFAR Media.

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