Beginning February 9, athletes from around the world will flock to Pyeongchang—a rugged, mountainous region in the Gangwon Province of South Korea—for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
To prepare for the games, South Korea has built six new venues and refurbished six others in three different areas in the province: Pyeongchang, an area known for winter sports and home to the Olympic Stadium; Jeongseon, a former mining area home to the downhill skiing courses; and Gangneung, a resort town and bustling port city home to the ice skating, speed skating, and hockey arenas.
Like any Olympics, Pyeongchang has made a few thorny headlines in the lead-up to the Games. Escalating military tension might be scaring away tourists, organizers have banned Russia from competing, and some worry that Pyeongchang’s frigid temperatures could pose problems for both athletes and spectators.
The good news? Officials report that all 13 venues and the Olympic Village are ready to go, an impressive feat considering that organizers of the recent Sochi and Rio Games were scrambling to finish hotels and venues on time.
In addition to the new venues, many Olympic athletes and visitors will arrive in Gangwon Province on a new $3.7 billion express train that just opened between Seoul and Pyeongchang. Instead of a taxing three-hour drive, the Korail train journey will take just under 1.5 hours.
To get pumped for all the excitement to come, we’ve rounded up the details and best photos of the major Olympic venues. From a giant stadium to snow-covered ski runs, here’s where all the Olympic magic will happen.
Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium
Built to hold 35,000 people, the pentagonal Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics. Located about one mile northeast of Alpensia Ski Resort, the stadium is a temporary structure that will be dismantled after the Olympics are over.
In recent months, the stadium has come under criticism because it was built without a roof or heat to save time and money. In November, seven people reportedly suffered hypothermia while attending a concert at the stadium. In order to alleviate the freezing temperatures and cold winds forecasted during the Olympics, officials will provide each spectator at the opening and closing ceremonies with a small blanket, a rain coat, and a heating pad.
Pyeongchang Olympic Village
Athletes competing in Pyeongchang will stay in the Olympic Village located near the main stadium. The village will officially open on February 1, eight days before the opening ceremony. The compound includes eight apartment buildings—each 15 stories tall—with about 600 units total.
A residential area is supplemented by an athletes’ plaza, and the village also includes important day-to-day services like banks, post offices, convenience stories, fitness centers, and multifaith churches. A similar Olympic Village in Gangneung has nine apartment buildings with a total of 922 units.
Alpensia Sports Complex
A nexus of many different sports for the Olympics in the Pyeongchang Mountain Cluster, the Alpensia Sports Complex at Alpensia Ski Resort is home to the biathlon, cross-country skiing, and ski jumping centers. In total, South Korea has spent more than $1.5 billion on Alpensia and structures like the ski jumping center, which was completed in 2008 and features two different sloping ramps.
Olympic Sliding Center
Also located in the Pyeongchang Mountain Cluster, the 44-acre Olympic Sliding Center has several snaking chutes for bobsled, skeleton, and luge events. Constructed at a cost of $114.5 million, it was one of the last venues to complete, wrapping up in late 2017.
Phoenix Snow Park
All of the freestyle skiing and snowboard competitions will take place at the Phoenix Snow Park in the township of Bongpyeong-myeon. The facility sits at the foot of Mt. Taegi and includes mogul courses, big air jumps, and a half pipe.
Jeongseon Alpine Center
With seating for 6,500 and room for another 2,900 standing spectators, the Jeongseon Alpine Center is home base for both men’s and women’s downhill, super-G, and Alpine combined ski events. It sits in the Gariwang mountains—one of the most remote areas in South Korea—and already hosted World Cup skiing events in 2016 and 2017.
Yongpyong Alpine Center
Still in the Pyeongchang Mountain Cluster but located at Yongpyong Resort instead of Alpensia Ski Resort, the Yongpyong Alpine Center will host all of the slalom events. The top of the mountain stands 4,783 feet above sea level and has a vertical drop of 2,530 feet.
Kwandong Hockey Center
One of two homes for Olympic hockey at this winter’s games, the Kwandong Hockey Center sits on a Catholic university campus and offers an intimate venue for 6,000 Olympic spectators. The Kwandong Hockey Center is part of five indoor arenas located in the coastal region of Gangneung.
Gangneung Curling Center
Instead of building a completely new venue for the curling events, Olympic officials decided to renovate an existing building in 2015 and 2016. Inside, four ice curling sheets painted with bullseyes will host the world’s best curlers.
Gangneung Hockey Center
A new structure built specifically for the Olympics, the Gangneung Hockey Center was completed in 2017. The octagonal stadium fits 10,000 people and will host the men’s and women’s team hockey tournaments.
Gangneung Ice Arena
The Gangneung Ice Arena is center stage for the exciting short-track speed skating races as well as the ever-popular figure skating competitions. At night, the building’s exterior lights up to reveal changing colors.
This oval building seats 8,000 spectators and boasts a 400-meter double track. It’s the place to be if you’re watching any of the long-track speed skating events.