The star athletes of the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi come from unique towns across America. Find out where your favorite athletes from the U.S. Olympic Team got their start. Visit one of these hometowns on your next road trip!
Park City, Utah
It’s comes as no surprise that Slopestyle Snowboarding Gold Medalist Sage Kotsenburg calls Park City, Utah his home! This winter wonderland was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics, so Sage can find a championship mountain park right in his hometown. Outdoor enthusiasts will love visiting Park City year-round. Plus, don’t miss annual events like Sundance Film Festival and numerous winter sports competitions.
Carrabassett Valley, Maine
Winter Olympian Bode Miller calls Carrabassett Valley, Maine “home,” and for good reason. Sugarloaf Mountain is the largest ski area in the Eastern U.S., making it the perfect spot for him to train in alpine skiing. Visitors to Carrabassett Valley can enjoy it’s natural beauty through three main draws: Sugarloaf Mountain; Bigelow Preserve, which spans more than 36,000 acres and is part of the Appalachian Trail; and Flagstaff Lake, situated at the northern foot of the Bigelow Mountain Range. No matter the season, Carrabassett Valley is a great destination for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers.
You may be surprised to learn that Olympic Bobsled Champion Johnny Quinn lives in McKinney, Texas, which is just north of Dallas. Johnny played football at University of North Texas, then for two NFL teams before becoming a Winter Olympian. Although visitors to McKinney won’t find many bobsled runs, they will find a small-town feel, museums and parks, all near more exciting attractions in Dallas. Although Johnny hasn’t yet competed in the 2014 Winter Games, you’ve probably heard about his successful escape from a Sochi bathroom.
Aliso Viejo, California
Champion Figure Skater Ashley Wagner resides in Aliso Viejo, California, which is about an hour southeast of Downtown Los Angeles. Visitors to the area will be drawn to the beautiful Pacific beaches nearby, including Laguna Beach, Salt Creek Beach and Crescent Bay Point. You’ll also want to visit Crystal Cove State Park, which features serene beachfront and trails for horseback riding, biking and hiking.
Olympic medalist Hannah Kearney calls Norwich, Vermont her home. This small town is situated along the Connecticut River, which marks the border between New Hampshire and Vermont. Visitors to the area can enjoy attractions like Dartmouth College (across the river in Hanover, NH) and more than five popular ski areas. At least four other past Olympians have lived in Norwich, VT.
We know you’ve heard of Winter Olympian and Snowboarder Shaun White, but have you heard of his hometown? Carlsbad, California is a coastal town just north of San Diego. This is a great town to visit if during your Pacific Coast tour. Don’t miss the Carlsbad Flower Fields, which overlook the ocean. You won’t believe the vibrant colors, which can be viewed March – May each year. You’ll also want to spend some time at Carlsbad State Beach.
South Lake Tahoe, California
Winter Olympic Snowboarded Jamie Anderson always seems to be having fun on the slopes, and now we know why! South Lake Tahoe, California is an ideal destination for a fun vacation, no matter what time of year you visit. This town offers the perfect combination of nature, shopping, nightlife, culture and more!
Crowd-pleasing Figure Skater Jason Brown calls Monument, Colorado his hometown. This town north of Colorado Springs offers some of the best proximity to Colorado’s diverse landscapes. For popular attractions, head to nearby Colorado Springs to visit the U.S. Air Force Academy, Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Pike’s Peak.
Squaw Valley, California
Squaw Valley Ski Area is about 7 miles west of North Lake Tahoe. This alpine resort hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, and features ideal slopes for Olympian Julia Mancuso, who has already medaled during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Travelers to Squaw Valley come to enjoy the many winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, dogsledding, ice skating and more.
We never need an excuse to talk about the Windy City of Chicago, but Speed Skater Shani Davis gave us a great one! Head to this impressive city on Lake Michigan and visit top attractions like Art Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier, Millennium Park and Willis (Sears) Tower. Plus, take a riverboat tour of the city!
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Champion Figure Skater Gracie Gold lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, an outer suburb of Chicago. If you’re looking for a quieter area to explore near the big city, visit attractions like Lake Ellyn Park, Village Links of Glen Ellyn, Cantigny Park, Cosley Zoo, and Blackwell Forest Preserve.