At the 2022 Winter Olympics, a total of 12 competition venues will host the 109 medal events set to take place. Many venues are leveraging existing facilities, while some are brand-new for these Winter Games.
The competition venues are spread across three different clusters (also called zones): Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. Each area has its own athlete village, all of which will be repurposed after the Olympics end.
Central Beijing will mainly host the ice sports. Most of the venues are repurposed from when the city hosted the summer Games in 2008, though the speed skating arena and the big air ramp are new additions. Six competition venues in total are located here, as well as the National Stadium which will be used for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The athlete village, which consists of 20 buildings and includes around 2,300 beds, will be turned into public housing after the Games.
A mountainous suburb about 45 miles northwest of downtown Beijing, the Yanqing Zone features two competition venues and will host the sliding sports and Alpine skiing. It's accessible from the city center by high-speed train. The athlete village will provide 1,430 beds for athletes and officials before ultimately becoming a leisure resort hotel.
Further past Yanqing, over 100 miles northwest of Beijing, is the Zhangjiakou Zone. The area is a popular ski destination in China and for the Winter Olympics, its four competition venues will host all of the snow events aside from Alpine skiing and snowboard/freeski big air. A newly constructed bullet train has greatly cut down the time it takes to reach Zhangjiakou — it's now accessible from Beijing in under 50 minutes. With over 2,600 beds, Zhangjiakou's athlete village is the biggest of the three and will be turned into a business complex at the conclusion of the Games.
Learn about some of the notable venues being used for the 2022 Winter Olympics below.
Events: Opening and Closing Ceremonies
One of the most iconic venues from the 2008 Games, this stadium is known as the "Bird's Nest" and hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies along with track & field competition for that summer's Olympics. It will play a similar role for the 2022 Winter Games, hosting the Opening Ceremony on February 4 and then the Closing Ceremony on February 20. In the process, it will become the first stadium to ever host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
National Aquatics Center
Another legacy structure from the 2008 Games, the National Aquatics Center is best known for being the venue where Michael Phelps won his record eight gold medals. Previously nicknamed the "Water Cube," the venue has earned a new moniker — the "Ice Cube" — after being transformed to host curling competitions at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Its distinctive exterior is designed to resemble water bubbles.
Capital Indoor Stadium
Events: Figure Skating, Short Track
With a capacity of over 17,000, the Capital Indoor Stadium will split its time between hosting figure skating and short track events. The arena was built more than 50 years ago and was the site of "ping pong diplomacy" matches between the United States and China in 1971. After undergoing renovations ahead of the 2008 Games, it hosted that year's Olympic volleyball tournament.
National Speed Skating Oval
Events: Speed Skating
The only new arena built on the grounds of the 2008 Olympic Park is the National Speed Skating Oval. Located on the site of the former field hockey and archery fields, its exterior features 22 ribbon-like light strands flowing around it, which led to its nickname of the "Ice Ribbon." It will host speed skating during the Winter Olympics before ultimately opening to the public for general use.
Shougang Big Air
Events: Snowboard and Freeski Big Air
Built on the site of a former steel mill, the world's first permanent big air venue is destined to become one of the most iconic settings of these Winter Olympics. Colorful lights illuminate the sides of the ramp at night, and four industrial cooling towers provide a distinctive backdrop.
Located on the city's outskirts, less than 15 miles west of Beijing's urban core, the venue will host the Olympic debut of freeski big air as well as the second edition of snowboard big air. Big air will be the only snowboard and freeski events not taking place at the Genting Snow Park, and it will also be the only snow event taking place within the Beijing cluster.
National Alpine Ski Center
Events: Alpine Skiing
Featuring seven different courses and vertical drops of up to 3,000 feet, this newly constructed venue will host the Alpine skiing events. Because the region does not get much natural snowfall, it's expected that the courses will mostly be lined with man-made snow. The venue has a capacity of about 8,500 for spectators, and with a maximum steepness of 68 degrees, it's said to be one of the world's steepest courses.
National Sliding Center
Events: Bobsled, Luge, Skeleton
The course at the National Sliding Center — which will host all three of the sliding sports — is designed to resemble a mythical Chinese dragon and features 16 turns, including a unique 360-degree turn. The track's competition length is about one mile long. It's the first-ever sliding track built in China, and after the Games, it'll be used as a training venue and for hosting international competitions.
Genting Snow Park
Events: Snowboarding, Freestyle Skiing
Aside from big air — which will be staged on a permanent ramp built within the city — all other snowboard and freestyle skiing events will take place in the mountains at Genting Snow Park. The park, which was built at an existing ski resort, is split into different sections and features six courses in total: halfpipe, slopestyle, ski/snowboard cross, parallel giant slalom, moguls and aerials. Moguls and aerials are exclusive to freestyle skiing, while parallel giant slalom is exclusive to snowboarding.
The slopestyle course is likely to feature some unique elements. At a test event several years ago, the designers unveiled a rail feature inspired by the Great Wall of China and noted that they wanted to develop more features fitting that motif ahead of the 2022 Winter Games.
National Ski Jumping Center
Events: Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined
Another one of the more distinctive venues that will be used for the Winter Olympics is the ski jump. The jump, which consists of a normal hill (377 feet) and a large hill (446 feet), is designed to resemble a ruyi scepter – a traditional Chinese talisman with a curved shape that symbolizes good fortune – and has therefore been nicknamed the "Snow Ruyi." The area at the bottom of the jump can be used as a soccer stadium during summer months. Aside from all ski jumping competitions, this will also host the ski jumping portion of the Nordic combined events.
The National Biathlon Center and the National Cross-Country Center are the other venues located within the Zhangjiakou Zone. After the Games, the cross-country skiing venue will be turned into a park and an outdoor ice and snow center.
Hockey games will be split between two venues – the Wukesong Sports Center and the National Indoor Stadium. Both arenas were originally built for the 2008 Olympics and are located within the Beijing cluster. The National Indoor Stadium's design resembles a traditional Chinese folding fan, which led to its nickname of "The Fan."