In order to qualify as a Winter Olympic host resort/city, the venues must meet the minimum requirements for each event. In Pyeongchang’s case a long-term plan to bid for the Games was initiated in 2003, which saw the construction of Alpensia Resort (completed in 2011) to include most of the required infrastructure, most notably the ski jump tower and bobsleigh track.
However, at the time of bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics, one key piece of winter sports infrastructure was still absent from Pyeongchang – and, indeed, the whole of Korea – namely, a ski slope meeting the minimum requirement of at least 800m vertical drop stipulated for the Men’s Alpine Downhill.
The Pyeongchang 2018 bid therefore had to include the construction of a purpose-built ski hill, and the result is the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. Although not actually in Pyeongchang County (it’s in the neighbouring county of Jeongseon), the Jeongseon Alpine Centre will host the Downhill, Super-G, and Combined events of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Construction started in 2014 and will be complete in late 2017; Jeongseon Alpine Centre was officially inaugurated in 2016 and hosted several World Cup events in the 2016/17 season.
The vertical drop of 825m is the greatest in Korea, with a steeper overall gradient than any other Korean resort; once open to the regular skiing public, this brand new resort is set to be the single best piece of downhill ski terrain in Korea and will represent the main legacy of Pyeongchang 2018 (along with, arguably, the Gangneung KTX bullet train line, though that was already planned).
Jeongseon will be the 4th-largest ski hill in Korea overall, and the best option for advanced skiers looking for some more challenging downhill terrain; it’s unclear at this time if there are any plans to include freestyle offerings in future.
How to get to Jeongseon Alpine Centre
For Pyeongchang 2018, shuttle buses will ferry spectators from Jinbu Station on the soon-to-open Gangneung KTX (and from elsewhere in Pyeongchang) to Jeongseon Alpine Centre. Presumably, a similar arrangement will do the same for customers in the future (this page will be updated as and when these details become clear)
Any questions about Jeongseon Alpine Centre? Leave a comment below!