Has there ever been a Winter Olympics in the southern hemisphere?

If not, is it likely to ever happen? Are there feasible locations- I’m thinking New Zealand or Chile? I just think it would be kind of cool to watch bobsledding after going to the beach. Thoughts?

I think there are two problems:
(1) You would need to hold them 6 months early or late, so that they could be in the middle of winter.
(2) You need a place that is sure to have snow at the right time (weather forecasting is very tricky 7 years in advance), and that has adequate facilities (including enough hotel rooms, etc.).

I suspect there are very few places in the southern hemisphere that satisfy condition (2). I think the only possible countries would be Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, and I suspect none of those countries has winter sports areas big enough.

I thought that was the point of the OP – since it’s the southern hemisphere, July is the middle of winter, so no delay necessary, hence the coolness of watching bobsledding from poolside.
(For the same effect, couldn’t you just go to Australia during the next Winter Olympics?)

They’ve held the summer games in the southern hemisphere (Sydney, Melbourne) but their winter isn’t really winter. :slight_smile:

The simple answer to the OP is no. In fact, even having the Summer Olympics in the Southern Hemisphere required some date-moving; the 2000 Sydney Games were in September rather than the July-August that is normal for a summer Olympiad.

BTW, if you want an Olympic place where you can see bobsledding after a day at the beach, maybe California is your best bet. The beaches as far north as Monterey are nice and warm in January-Fenruary, and winter sports areas (such as 1960 Winter Olympic host Squaw Valley) are only about 3 hours drive away (obviously, though, there would be more traffic, and therefore longer driving time, if the Olympics are in town).

Christchurch, NZ might be a feasible location. It’s not too far (a six hour drive) from their famous ski slopes around Queenstown, and they definitely get winter weather. Their population at 400,000 is a bit lower than Calgary’s in '88 but I’m sure they could handle it. Come on, Kiwi Dopers, get on it.

Monterey in January? I hope you have a wetsuit…


Is the water too cold for swimming, then? I’ve only been in that area once, in late January of 2003, but the weather was sunny and temperatures were in the 70’s. Granted, I didn’t go to the beach swimming - for religious modesty reasons, my family wouldn’t swim at a public beach - but we were at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a nearby playground, and it felt like decent beach weather.

It doesn’t matter how warm the weather is, the water is freakin’ cold at any time of year! You pretty much need a wetsuit to swim in the Pacific ocean for any length of time anyplace north of Santa Barbara (IMHO).

Well, I guess you can still get a tan. And if swimming is important to one’s beach-and-bobsled itinerary, Santa Barbara itself is only 4 hours and 15 minutes (according to MapQuest) from Squaw Valley.

im from melbourne

australian mountains dont have the vertical but its often discussed tongue in cheek, but we are having a good start to the ski season at the moment

christchurch would be a viable option

australia is the only country from the southern hemisphere to win a gold at the winter olympics which is another bit of trivia (alisa camplin in 2002)

Let’s do it in Antarctica! Definitely snow there in summer.

It looks like Argentina could do it, but there probably needs to be a lot of money put into developing the area around it for a full Olympic setting.

I had to check this out, since I knew Mapquest didn’t include helicopter travel.

Turns out there’s another Squaw Valley (actually, I think it’s the only town of that name).

If you wanted to ski at Squaw, you’ll have to go to Olympic Valley, near Tahoe City (about 500 miles).

If I had to guess, the closest ski area to Santa Barbara would be Dodge Ridge (and if you don’t need ski areas as such, you can go from beaches in LA to snowy mountains within a few hours).

Oops. :o Didn’t realize the Squaw Valley in MapQuest was different.

While we have the mountains and skifields in the South Island, I doubt that any single field would be big enough, and they are widely spaced. Also, NZ skifields are not as sculpted as northern hemisphere slopes - on many fields, you cannot flatten runs or remove rocks - the landscape is protected. And the local (to the skifields) services could not support that many people - they are usually smaller places a long way from anywhere.

So I suspect it is unlikely to happen, and the events that do happen will continue to be at the Xtreme Skiing end of the scale.


70s degrees in Monterey in January was an anomoly.

The average highs between mid-November and Mid-April are below 60 degrees. In fact, there is no day in the year that has an average high of even 70. It tops out in early September at about 69 degrees.

Plus the water is always cold. I love Monterey but its definitely not the model of a “California beach.”

You know what? You’re right. I guess that vacationing from a New York winter, sunny 61 (the high for January 24, 2003, according to the site you linked) feels like the 70’s.

Huh. Somebody should have told me that before all those times I went swimming off Vancouver Island as a child.

The area covered by snow most winters in Australia is bigger than the whole of Switzerland. However it’s unreliable, there only being enough to ski on maybe 2 years in 3, and as global warming rolls on it is getting worse.