Pyeongchang 2018 President Cho Yang-ho has claimed they are now in the operational phase ahead of the Games ©Getty Images

Pyeongchang 2018 President Cho Yang-ho has declared they have moved into the “operational phase” ahead of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games - with the first test events scheduled to take place this month.

The world’s top Alpine skiers are currently taking part in three days of training at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, ahead of the International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup competition on February 6 and 7 at the venue.

"Construction for all new competition and non-competition venues is on track and will be completed in time," Cho told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

"We have moved from the planning phase of the Games to the operational phase, and with two years to the Games, are finalising many details."

Concerns had been raised about the readiness of Jeongseon in the build up to this week's World Cup races with International Olympic Committee (IOC) Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi stating in December that construction was on a "very tight timeline".

Although it is only around 60 per cent complete, the venue was declared fit to host the World Cup with the final completion date scheduled to be December 20 this year. 

FIS technical expert Guenter Hujara had given the all clear for competition to take place last month, after carrying out a snow control check.

The news will have come as a relief to Pyeongchang 2018 and its President Cho, who has  been credited with helping to improve the speed of preparation having replaced Kim Jin-sun in July 2014.

The first test event for the Games is due to take place on February 6 and 7
The first test event for the Games is due to take place on February 6 and 7 ©Getty Images

The Alpine Skiing World Cup is due to see men’s downhill and super-G races held on the new course, in what will be the first of a series of 28 test events for Pyeongchang 2018.

Following the event, two FIS Snowboard World Cups are due to be held in Bokwang, first in slopestyle from February 19 to 21, and then in snowboard cross from February 25 to 27.

Bokwang is also due to stage an FIS Freestyle World Cup from February 18 to 20.

Jeongseon has been criticised by environmental groups, who have claimed the removal of "sacred" trees to make way for the ski run is an "ecological disaster”.

However, Cho claimed there is excitement at having the world’s top Alpine skiers in the country and believes there has been an increase in interest in winter sport.

"We are excited to showcase this new course and bring Alpine skiing to Korea for the first time,” he said.

"We are proud to bring winter sports closer to Asia.

"I think the interest in winter sports has been increasing since we won the bid to host the Winter Olympics.

"For instance, more and more young people are taking interest in ice hockey, which has been a minor sport here.”

The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 9 to 25, with the Paralympics due to be held from March 9 to 18.