Coming from a tropical country, it was interesting for me to explore the unfamiliar world of winter sports in one of the actual Olympic sites. Mt. Okura was one of the venues for the 1972 Olympics and home to ski jumping events. Today, it holds an observatory at the top (300meters) where you can get on a lift from the base of the ski jump, which runs parallel to the ski jump. So you can see each section of it, including the audience area, the judge's station and the giant scoreboard. At the top, you can get a firsthand view of where the skier jumps take off as well as get breathtaking views of the city of Sapporo.
Down at the base, there is a Winter Sports Museum, where you can experience the world of winter sports through simulators. I got to try the ski jump, and bobsled and speed skating. Information about history and records are also available there.
Lucky for us as we were about to leave, there were a couple of ski jumpers doing their practice jumps. It was a whole lot different to see it in person than just trying to visualize in our minds how they do it :-)
Note: This highlight also appears in AFAR Website