Back To Top

[PyeongChang 2018] How to survive the coldest Winter Olympics

Both local and global media predict that PyeongChang could be the coldest Winter Olympics witnessed in recent decades.

The northeastern Gangwon Province, where Pyeongchang county is located, is generally considered the coldest region in South Korea. This year is seeing a particularly cold winter, with ice sheets in rivers and lakes freezing some 25 centimeters thicker on average than last year, according to reports.

The following are several tips for braving the cold and ingenious heat-trapping items that Olympics-goers may want to purchase.

Colorful padded jackets (Rumy Doo/The Korea Herald)
Colorful padded jackets (Rumy Doo/The Korea Herald)

Not all padded jackets are the same

A heat-trapping top, ski pants, boots and a thick padded jacket are essential items for PyeongChang visitors. Water-proof and wind-proof outer material are recommended to survive the snow and wind.

But not all padded jackets boast the same level of insulation, according to fashion blogger and clothing importer Yang Jong-woo.

Down feather, or fine feathers found underneath a bird’s tough external feathers, and other types of feather are common material found inside padded jackets.

Goose down tends to be warmer than duck down, according to Yang, though markedly more expensive.

Another important factor is the “fill power” of padded jackets, referring to the feathers’ capacity to return to their original full volume after being pressed down.

“The more layers of air trapped between the feathers, the longer the heat is preserved within,” says Yang.

Nifty accessories

Face mask (SMC)
Face mask (SMC)

The padded face mask covers all areas of the face except for the eyes, protecting the facial skin from biting winds.

No additional scarf or earmuffs are necessary when shielding the face with this handy contraption.

Heat-generating vest (Gmarket)
Heat-generating vest (Gmarket)

Heat-generating vests contain rechargeable batteries inside the chest, stomach and back area that heat up when switched on.

Hot pack (Rumy Doo/The Korea Herald)
Hot pack (Rumy Doo/The Korea Herald)

Heating packs, called hot packs here, are commonly sold in convenience stores and pharmacies in Korea for around 1,000 won ($0.92). These portable rectangular packs fit inside the palm and contain ingredients such as iron powder, activated charcoal and vermiculite, a mineral often used for insulation.

When shaken, the hot packs warm up to as high as 70 degrees Celsius. Direct contact with the skin for prolonged periods, however, can cause low-temperature burns.

The PyeongChang Winter Games’ opening ceremony is scheduled to take place at the open-air PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Friday.

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee will be handing out several heating items to visitors, including a rain coat, a small blanket, a winter cap, heating packs for hands and feet and a heating pad that visitors can sit on. Those attending are still advised to wrap up from head to toe in thick layers.

Forecasts predict a cold spell throughout Gangwon Province this week in particular. Temperatures on opening day are predicted to range from minus 10 degrees Celsius to minus 5 degrees Celsius. Official forecasts for the opening day will be announced Wednesday at the Main Press Centre.

By Rumy Doo (