South Korea’s first Olympic Alpine skier has praised the course at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre - one of the two venues due to be used for the sport at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Yim Kyung-soon, who competed at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games in Squaw Valley in California during a time when South Korea barely had a skiing programme, has described the course as being in "excellent condition".
The Yongpyong Alpine Centre is scheduled to host slalom and giant slalom events at next year’s Games, while the Jeongseon Alpine Centre is set to stage downhill, super-G and Alpine combined competitions.
"The course at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre is very difficult," Yim, 87, told Korea Joongang Daily.
"It’s nothing like when I used to ski.
"The course is a lot faster and a lot icier, but overall it’s in excellent condition.”
Yim used to practice on the Gangwon Province slopes that will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics.
He visited the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in February of last year when it hosted an International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Skiing World Cup as a test event for Pyeongchang 2018.
With 200 days to go until the start of the Games, Yim believes it is the right time for coaches to inspect the skiers being fielded by other nations.
"It all comes down to little things," Yim said.
"Whether it’s endurance, power or technical things, the coaches have to pay attention to competitors and figure out what they are doing differently."
South Korea have demonstrated improvement in Alpine skiing in recent times with Jung Dong-hyun having won the men’s slalom event at this year’s Asian Winter Games in Japan.
The Korea Ski Association has hired foreign coaches in an attempt to make the team stronger and Yim is expecting big things from the home nation at Pyeongchang 2018.
"They’ve received some financial support in recent years, so they’ve got the chance to spend their off-season in other countries and I’ve seen some good results," he said.
"For the past 16 years, the Koreans have shown significant improvement and won a few minor events in Europe."
As hosts, South Korea are allowed to have a minimum of two male and female athletes with Olympic FIS points in each event at Pyeongchang 2018.
The Games are scheduled to take place from February 9 to 25.