When Pyeongchang first pitched itself to host the Olympic games 15 years ago, few people within South Korea could even locate it on a map.
The city nestled in the Taebaek Mountains had fewer than 5,000 residents, only one major highway, and no train line. The remote villages that made up the Gangwon Province were better known for dried pollack than ski slopes.
But as the world's top athletes converge on this region for the winter games, Gangwon's Governor Moon-soon Choi says attitudes toward his region are changing, in part because of its physical transformation.
High-speed rail now connects Gangwon's economic center to the capital, Seoul. A casino attracts tourists from the capital city. Snow-covered rice paddies have been replaced by Olympic skating rinks.
"Economic growth has been quite significant," Choi said. "This area has become more internationalized since we improved the port and harbor. We started having cruises come over, and our employment rate increased."