PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018.. plus a side of worldwide politics and frostbite..

The Winter Olympics are on their way here in South Korea and it’s crazy political times in the Far East.  North Korea’s Leader, Kim Jong Un, just formally invited the President of South Korea for tea and maybe some crumpets and Kimmy’s sister made an appearance that made Mr. Pence uncomfortable.  I mean whoa.. I know this isn’t exactly the kind of posts you’re used to seeing such curated blog/instagram influencers post about, but guys, I live in Korea and these things are kind of a big deal and do affect the US.  I realize NYFW is underway and I too want to see what Aimee (@songofstyle) is wearing as well as her nut-filled dates (which I’ve made three times already), but this is serious business over here in Asia.

Anyways, the Opening Ceremony was beautiful and how about the North and South Korean lady hockey players forming one team?!?  I myself had mixed feelings about this as they are TWO DIFFERENT countries.. It’s obvious for a ton of reasons why they did it, but it would be like North America and South America combining athletic teams.. hmmmmm.  Enough of the politics of the Olympics and onto my experience with attending my FIRST Olympic games!!

 

 

The events actually started the day before Opening Ceremony but I’ve heard rumors the timing of the Opening Ceremony made more sense for commercial reasons to be delayed in the states.  It was so nice to see it live ahead of the US.. sorry guys!  The location of the Olympic stadium is in a country town called PyeongChang about 2 hours East of Seoul.  It looks beautiful and all the lights shooting out of it makes it stand out from the normal sleepy town.  It’s only a temporary stadium that will be demolished after the Olympics, so it’ll be used a very minimal number of times before it gets torn down forever.  It doesn’t make sense for a small town to keep a stadium that can hold tens of thousands of people.. still weird though.. Off in the distance, you can see the Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium which is where the Ski Jumping event was held..

 

 

{Seoul to PyeongChang}

How to get from Seoul to the Winter Olympics.  We decided to drive to PyeongChang and park in the designated Daegwallyeong Parking Lot (free)..  From here we hopped on a free shuttle (TS10) to the stadium and took about 15 minutes.  You can take the train to Jinbu station but be sure to book ahead of time since tickets are selling out and book a return.  The late trains were added last minute and we were set on driving since we didn’t want to wait in the cold for the train to take us to Seoul and then still worry about getting a cab at 2AM back home.

We weren’t allowed to enter until 2 hours before the games started.. then we had to go through 2 security check points.

What’s allowed:

  • Large bags/bookbags
  • Food
  • Beverages (we only had water and they made me take a sip out of the bottle)
  • Large professional cameras

Walking into the stadium was incredibly surreal!!!  I had this immediate smile cross my face when I saw the rings high above the ski jump.. But then my face was hit with the most cold winter chill… I had to really try hard to ignore the brisk air and wander around snapping pics of everything.  my exposed fingers at one point felt so fat from the cold air I thought they were going to fall off!

 

 

{trying to stay warm and hope you come back with all texting fingers}

There was a large tented area on the immediate first level with heaters and a selfie station.  This became a huge saving grace at the end of the night before we left.  We got warmed up before braving the 19F temps outside.  The event officially started at 9:30PM, but practices/trials were held an hour before so it was good we arrived early..  We made our way down to the icy standing area where you are literally walking on a massive giant ice cube..  about 20 minutes later, I started realizing my double socks and combat boots were not going to be warm enough.  We got in line for food only to be 30 people deep and get to the front to have them tell us they ran out of most menu items and hot water for soups BEFORE the event even started.  This was after standing in line for about an hour because it was that slow.. luckily, the views while in line were perfect for watching the ski jumpers take flight.  We stuffed our face with easy-bake oven gorgonzola pizzas and got in place at the bottom of the hill where the ski jumpers land and were so close you could hear the grunts upon impact.. They were like flying squirrels in the air and it was amazing!!

 

 

{watch details}

Courtesy of Daniel Wellington

Use code BRIGITTE for 15% off, good through March 31st!

 

It finally got to a point where neither of us could feel our toes anymore and we had to get warm again.  With about 6 of 57 jumpers left, we opted to run to the heated tent to regain feeling in our extremities.. This is when we saw employees handing out hand warmers.. UMMMMM, this would have helped at the BEGINNING OF THE EVENT GUYS.  I shoved those things in my boots and my pockets.. I’ve never been so afraid of losing a toe in my life.. Is this was frost bite feels like?!?!?!?

 

 

The games ended and all 4 US skiers made it to the medal round!!  Congrats guys!!  We headed back to the shuttle buses and they brought us back to the cars within about 20 minutes of the event ending.  The transportation was all pretty seamless for the first day.

 

PyeongChang Olympic Games Protips:

  • Dress warm and layer
  • Bring gloves
  • Wear legit winter boots – Uggs if you have to
  • Four hand warmers for each limb
  • Face mask to help keep your face warm (yes the ones that look like doctor masks – luckily they were handing out free ones at the games)
  • Eat before hand!
  • Cash or Visa because this is all that’s accepted
  • Bring your own flags/memorabilia because they’re not sold onsite

 

Have so much fun because honestly, even after all the kinks that needed to be worked out, we had the best time ever!  Everyone was sooooo nice.. maybe because we opted to bring the US flag and Korean flags, they saw we supported both countries, but one girl saw how cold I was and offered me one of her hand warmers.. So kind!!  It was just a really warm cool feeling being there and so welcomed by everyone!!  I hope everyone gets to feel that kind of excitement and camaraderie when they attend the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018!  If you’re going, drop me a comment below on your events and experiences!!

 

{youtube video highlights}

Here’s a mini video compilation of our day.. Chris corrects my pronunciation of PyeongChang…

 

4 thoughts on “PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018.. plus a side of worldwide politics and frostbite..

    1. So much fun!! Really glad we made it happen because it was a bit of a trek from Seoul. I had my giant furry hat attached to my jacket to cover my ears. ha!

  1. I can’t believe the event didn’t start till 9:30pm!!! Glad your limbs survived, still super jealous, hope you guys go again!!

    1. I know!! I’m not sure why it started so late, but there’s a ton of night games.. Probably because the schedule is so filled.. and same.. so glad I still have all my fingers in tact! Next Olympics are the summer ones in Japan, let’s go!!!

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