Chilean athletes prepare for Russia’s Winter Olympics

Six skiers will be leaving Chile for Sochi with the hopes of finding success at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The 2014 Winter Olympics are set to take place between Feb.7-23 in Russia’s western coastal city of Sochi. Six Chileans will be embarking on the long journey to Eurasia — swapping the heat of South America for the freezing temperatures of the Black Sea’s shores.

Alpine skiers Eugenio Claro, Henrik Von Appen and Noelle Barahona; cross-country skier Jonathan Fernández and free-style skiers Stephanie Joffroy and Dominique Ohaco will be competing in a total of 16 events.

Downhill specialist Von Appen, an engineering student at the Universidad of Chile, will be trying his luck in five events including the men’s giant slalom and men’s Super-G.

“Sochi is a place I am not familiar with, so I don’t know what to expect,” he told El Gráfico Chile. “I am trying to prepare physically as best I can so that I can reach the top.”

However, the 19-year-old played down his chances of winning a medal, even though he is in fine form at the moment.

“The truth is I don’t think I will win a medal but I have been skiing well recently. Getting into the top 30 would be a good result.”

Free-style skier Dominique Ohaco, who is only 18-years-old, is no stranger to winning and is being touted as a future star of winter sports. After taking up skiing at 13, Ohaco began competing the same year and has since picked up titles including Roxy Snow Jam 2011 and 2012, Columbia Snow Challenge 2011 and 2012, and the 2011 Circuito Bichos.

At only 17 Ohaco was ranked seventh in the world following a strong showing at the 2013 Sierra Nevada Cup in Spain. She will be competing in the women’s slopestyle event in Sochi.

With top class ski resorts such as El Colorado and Portillo in the snowcapped Andes, Chile is a premier destination for skiing in the summer hemisphere, drawing many dedicated skiers looking to hit the powder in their offseasons farther north.