By Peggy Shinn |
Sept. 25, 2017,
5:17 p.m. (ET)
PARK CITY, Utah — Months before Team USA athletes convened in Park City for the Team USA Media Summit, many traveled to PyeongChang for world cup test events prior to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. From bobsled to snowboarding, they liked what they saw. And their results proved it.
In bobsled, Jamie Greubel Poser/Aja Evans and Elana Meyers Taylor/Lolo Jones went 1-2 in the IBSF World Cup test event last February. And in skiing and snowboarding, Americans had 14 podium appearances in four different disciplines, including cross-country skiing.
The athletes were happy with their respective venues, in part because PyeongChang’s climate delivered consistent winter conditions. After two Olympic Winter Games that have been held in warmer climates, PyeongChang has a climate more like New England’s. Maximum temperatures average 1 degree Celsius (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in February, with the average temperature hovering around -3 degrees C (26.6 degrees F).
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“I feel like the halfpipe was amazing, and that actually got me really pumped for the Olympics because a big part of our sport is the conditions, the weather, the snow, and how it’s going to be,” explained snowboarder Chloe Kim, who finished fourth in the PyeongChang World Cup last February (behind winner Kelly Clark).
“No matter how good you are, if you have a really sketchy halfpipe, it’s like you can’t really ride to your full potential. It was really comforting to know they have a good halfpipe, and they knew what they were doing.”
During the women’s alpine test events — a world cup downhill and super-G held last March — Laurenne Ross said, “by the time race day came around, it was perfect weather and the snow was great.”
Ross finished fourth in the downhill and sixth in the super-G behind Lindsey Vonn, who claimed second place in both races.
It wasn’t just the snow conditions that the athletes previewed. With most winter sports world cups typically held in Europe and North America, the athletes got a preview of Korean food and culture and “how everything was run,” added Ross.
“The venue was very different than any other place,” she said, “so were really lucky to get to go there and test the track before we go back in February.”
A freelance writer based in Vermont, Peggy Shinn has covered four Olympic Games. She has contributed to TeamUSA.org since its inception in 2008.